Medical Assistance in Dying

Following a Supreme Court of Canada decision, medical assistance in dying (MAID) became legal on June 6, 2016.  On June 17, 2016, Bill C-14, federal legislation on medical assistance in dying, received royal assent.

In Manitoba, the intent is to provide access to this care in a manner that is respectful of the informed choices of individuals and provides appropriate safeguards to protect vulnerable people in the community while remaining respectful of the view of health care providers. Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living has worked closely with regional health authorities, CancerCare Manitoba and with provincial regulatory colleges to ensure a compassionate approach is available to Manitobans.

Questions and Answers About Medical Assistance in Dying

What is medical assistance in dying?

Medical assistance in dying takes place when an authorized health care provider provides or administers medication that intentionally brings about the patient’s death, at the request of the patient.  This procedure is available only where a patient meets the criteria set out in the federal legislation on MAID.

There are 2 types of medical assistance in dying available to Canadians. They include where an authorized heath care provider:

  1. directly administers a substance that causes death, such as an injection of a drug (this is commonly called voluntary euthanasia).
  2. gives or prescribes a drug that is self-administered to cause death (this is commonly known as medically-assisted suicide).
Who qualifies for Medical Assistance in Dying?

In order to be eligible for medical assistance in dying, you must meet all of the following conditions. You must:

  • be eligible for health services funded by the federal government, or a province or territory Generally, visitors to Canada are not eligible for medical assistance in dying.
  • be at least 18 years old and mentally competent (this means capable of making health care decisions for yourself);
  • have a grievous and irremediable medical condition;
  • make a request for medical assistance in dying which is not the result of outside pressure or influence; and,
  • give informed consent to receive medical assistance in dying (this means you have consented to medical assistance in dying after being given all of the information needed to make your decision). This includes information about:
    • your medical diagnosis
    • available forms of treatment
    • available options to relieve suffering, including palliative care
What is a grievous and irremediable medical condition?

To be considered as having a grievous and irremediable medical condition, you must meet all of the following conditions. You must:

  • have a serious illness, disease or disability
  • be in an advanced state of decline that cannot be reversed
  • be suffering unbearably from your illness, disease, disability or state of decline; and,
  • be at a point where your natural death has become reasonably foreseeable, which takes into account all of your medical circumstances

You do not need to have a fatal or terminal condition to be eligible for medical assistance in dying.

How do I access MAID?

Patients who wish to access medical assistance in dying should talk with their health care provider, or to the provincial service team established to support patients who have questions or want to access the medical assistance in dying process. For more information or to contact the service team, call 204-926-1380 or e-mail: Maid@wrha.mb.ca.

The provincial service team is also available to support health care providers who are assisting patients accessing MAID.  For more information or to contact the service team, call 204-926-1380 or e-mail: Maid@wrha.mb.ca.

For more information on palliative and end-of-life care services and programs: www.gov.mb.ca/health/palliative_care.html