ontario news watch

Push to change national bar association’s position on assisted dying expansion fails

OTTAWA — The Canadian Bar Association has voted to maintain its support for expanding assisted dying eligibility to people whose sole condition is a mental illness.

Lawyers belonging to the national advocacy group met virtually today to debate a series of resolutions, including one that sought the withdrawal of that position.

A committee of senators and members of Parliament recently recommended that the government wait to expand the medical assistance in dying program.

The committee heard warnings from representatives of the bar association who said the government would open itself up to future legal challenges as a result.

The expansion was set to take effect in March but the Liberal government has tabled legislation to delay it by another three years — well after the next general election.

Critics say nothing in law compels Canada to move ahead, while proponents say people with mental illness should have the same rights as those with debilitating physical conditions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8. 2024.

The Canadian Press