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Medical Assistance in Dying

The law in Canada has changed.
Since 2016, it has been legal in Canada for an eligible person suffering intolerably from a grievous and irremediable medical condition to access Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD). MAiD permits a doctor or nurse practitioner to assist an eligible patient involuntarily ending their life.

Federal legislation sets out the eligibility requirements for MAiD, the procedural safeguards for protecting patients, and the process by which MAiD can be provided.


Frequently Asked Questions
For answers to frequently asked questions about MAiD, click the links below.

Who can provide MAiD?
Only authorized physicians and nurse practitioners can do this procedure.
How is MAiD provided?
There are two methods of delivering MAiD: 

  • A physician or nurse practitioner can directly administer a substance that causes death, for example, by intravenous injection of a drug; or
  • A physician or nurse practitioner can provide a substance that the patient takes him or herself to cause death. 
Regardless of the method chosen, the physician or nurse practitioner will be present for the death.
Who is eligible to receive MAiD?
Persons who meet all of the following criteria: 

  1. Are at least 18 years of age, and eligible for publicly-funded health services in Canada. 
  2. Voluntarily request MAiD without coercion or influence.
  3. Provide informed consent to receive MAiD (the person must have the mental capacity to provide informed consent, including at the time of taking the drug. Capacity is determined by one or more of the health care providers involved).
  4. Have a grievous and irremediable medical condition (in other words, a serious life-ending illness, disease or disability).
  5. The illness is advanced and irreversible with natural death being reasonably foreseeable.
  6. Have intolerable suffering (note that the patient has no obligation to accept unwanted services or treatment).
How would I get started if I might want MAiD?
If you believe you meet all the eligibility criteria and want to find out more, please talk to the physician or nurse practitioner who is most responsible for your care or ask any member of your care team to bring your request to the attention of your physician or nurse practitioner.

Be aware that not all doctors and nurse practitioners are able to help you with this process, however, they must connect you with other care providers who can help you.

Be sure to tell your physician or nurse practitioner how you would like to involve your family, friends, or others in the MAiD discussions and process. Considering this option is a deeply personal matter and PHSA encourages anyone thinking about it to talk with their family, friends, and anyone else who can support them through the process, in addition to the doctor or nurse practitioner caring for them.

Patients or their families can also call or email the Provincial Health Service Authority (PHSA) MAiD Office at 1-844-851-MAID (6243) or email maidcco@phsa.ca.
What issues will I need to discuss with my physician or nurse practitioner?
Your doctor or nurse practitioner will discuss your medical condition with you and will make sure you have considered all the other end-of-life services or treatments that are available to you, including comfort care, pain control, hospice care, palliative care and other options. You do not have to accept any of these alternatives, but it is important you know about them before you pursue Medical Assistance in Dying.

You will be given information on MAiD and other options that may help you make your decision. If, having consulted with your care providers, family, and other supports, you choose to seek Medical Assistance in Dying, please know you can change your mind and stop the process at any time thereafter.
How does the process work?
  1. If you wish to proceed with MAiD, your physician or nurse practitioner will either assist you further or connect you to others who can provide MAiD.
  2. You will be required to document your request and see two separate physicians or nurse practitioners (assessors).
  3. The two assessors will confirm your eligibility.
  4. There is a minimum 10-day ‘period of reflection’ from the time of your request until MAiD may be provided.
  5. At the end of the reflection period, you will be asked again if you would still like to receive MAiD.
  6. MAiD will be provided to you by the method of your choice and, to the greatest extent possible, at a location of your choosing and by one of the two assessors.
  7. The health care team will continue to care for you at every stage of this process and will provide assistance in arranging support to make you as comfortable as possible.
For more details, please contact the PHSA MAiD Office at 1-844-851-MAID (6243) or email maidcco@phsa.ca.

Can I change my mind?
Of course, you can change your mind at any time about when to proceed, or whether to proceed at all.

Can I make an advanced directive for MAiD?
No, assessments or provision of Medical Assistance in Dying cannot be provided as part of an advance care plan or at the request of a substitute decision maker. Only the patient can request and consent to Medical Assistance in Dying.
 
In order to receive Medical Assistance in Dying, a patient must be able to clearly communicate their capable, informed, consent throughout the process up to and including at the time of the procedure.

Where can I get more information about MAiD?
Please see the resources linked on this page, or contact the Provincial Health Service Authority (PHSA) MAiD Office:

Information for patients on medical assistance in dying:




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