The September 11, 2019, judgment rendered by Justice Baudouin of the Superior Court of Quebec states that both the “end of life” term used in Quebec law and the “reasonably foreseeable natural death” term listed in criteria for access to MAID are unconstitutional, due to the Supreme Court judgment made February 6, 2015.
Since then and since the March 17, 2021, Criminal Code amendment, the conditions are as follows:
- All criteria under Quebec law have remained the same, except the one requiring that a patient be in their end of life, which is no longer operational.
- As for the (federal) Criminal Code, “reasonably foreseeable natural death” is no longer an eligibility criterion for MAID but has become a safeguard measure to separate patients into two categories:
- Persons whose natural death is reasonably foreseeable, like a patient with metastatic cancer.
- Persons whose death is not reasonably foreseeable (over time), given their illness. This includes, for instance, patients with a degenerative neurological disease like multiple sclerosis, where natural death is not reasonably foreseeable (short- or medium-term prognosis), but it is known that the illness will lead to the patient’s death. Once again, this is no longer an eligibility criterion but rather a safeguard meant to differentiate patients.
In a nutshell, a patient requesting MAID must meet all other legal criteria but does not need to be at the end of their life. Furthermore, neither Quebec law nor federal law specify a time limit. For instance, a patient with advanced rheumatoid arthritis that will not cause their death within the next two to five years might still be eligible for MAID if all other criteria are met.