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Medical Assistance in Dying Information for the Public

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) is a deeply personal matter for many people. It is a complex issue that has implications for patients and families, health care providers, and health policy and programs.

MAID occurs when a physician or registered nurse (nurse practitioner) [RN(NP)]* administers or provides a prescription for self-administration of a lethal dose of drugs to intentionally cause the death of a competent adult, at the adult's request. In 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the current law that makes it a criminal offence for a physician or RN(NP) to assist a patient in dying in certain circumstances.

Status of Legislation

On June 17, 2016, federal legislation on MAID (Bill C-14) was passed and received Royal Assent. On March 17, 2021, the amended federal legislation on MAID (Bill C-7) received Royal Assent and immediately came into force. The legislation permits MAID for patients who meet all the criteria as outlined below.


Eligibility for MAID is always assessed on an individual basis and takes all relevant circumstances into account. The amended federal legislation no longer requires a person’s natural death to be reasonably foreseeable as an eligibility criterion for MAID.

Under the amended federal legislation, an individual needs to meet the following criteria to be considered eligible for MAID.

A patient must:

  • be 18 years of age or older and have decision-making capacity;
  • be eligible for health services funded by the federal government, or a province or territory (generally, visitors to Canada are not eligible for MAID);
  • make a request for MAID which is not the result of outside pressure or influence;
  • be able to give informed consent both:
    • at the time of request
    • immediately before receiving MAID, unless special circumstances apply; and
  • be informed of their right to withdraw their request at any time and in any manner.
  • be provided all the information needed to make a decision. This includes information about:
    • their medical diagnosis;
    • available forms of treatment; and
    • available options to relieve suffering, including palliative care.
  • have a grievous and irremediable medical condition which means a person must meet all of the following conditions:
    • have a serious and incurable illness, disease or disability (excluding a mental illness until March 17, 2027);
    • be in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capabilities; and
    • experience unbearable physical or mental suffering from their illness, disease, disability, or state of decline that cannot be relieved under conditions that they consider acceptable.

Eligibility for persons suffering from mental illness

Canadians whose only medical condition is a mental illness, and who otherwise meet all eligibility criteria, will not be eligible for MAID until March 17, 2027. This includes conditions that are primarily within the domain of psychiatry, such as depression and personality disorders. It does not include neurocognitive and neurodevelopmental disorders, or other conditions that may affect cognitive abilities.

This temporary exclusion will provide the Government of Canada with more time to study how MAID on the basis of a mental illness can safely be provided and to ensure appropriate safeguards are in place to protect those persons.

Requesting MAID

An individual seeking MAID must clearly provide informed, expressed, written, and voluntary consent to the termination of life. Informed consent means that a patient understands the nature, benefit, risks, alternatives and consequences of a health care decision. It also means the patient has had all their questions sufficiently answered.

Getting more information or requesting MAID

Patients interested in MAID can contact the Saskatchewan Health Authority at 1-833-473-6243 or 306-766-4399 to inquire about eligibility and the provincial MAID program.

If a patient's physician or RN(NP) doesn't provide the service

Not all physicians or RN(NP)s will be able to offer this service or will choose to do so. However, they will continue to provide other medically required care, and ensure the patient has access to information on end-of-life care options and access to information on MAID if that is their wish. Physicians and RN(NP)s are guided by their respective regulatory bodies: the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan and the College of Registered Nurses of Saskatchewan.

Additional support and information

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan and the College of Registered Nurses of Saskatchewan can provide details about processes and guidelines for physicians and RN(NP)s. Health providers can contact their respective professional regulatory bodies for information specific to their areas of practice.

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