Cardus report launch panel, from left to right: Dr. Rebecca Vachon (moderator), Dylan McGuinty, Dr Leonie Herx, Dr. Sephora Tang. (Photo provided by Cardus.)

The Ottawa think tank Cardus hosted a launch event for a new book that argues medically assisted death is being used to help people escape a painful life rather than a painful death.

Legal experts and medical practitioners presented their contributions to the book, Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) in Canada: Key Multidisciplinary Perspectives, at the Tuesday event in Ottawa.

“We have moved away from people escaping painful death, to escaping painful life,” said Dr. Sephora Tang, assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Ottawa. 

Medical assistance in death (MAID), which became law in 2016, was originally limited to Canadian adults whose natural death was reasonably foreseeable.

Revisions to the law since 2016 have expanded its scope. In 2021, the government expanded MAID’s eligibility criteria to include adults whose natural death is not reasonably foreseeable. In March 2024, the law is set to further extend to adults whose sole medical condition is mental illness. 

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Hadassah Alencar is a bilingual journalist based near Montreal. She recently completed the journalism program at Concordia University, where she worked as a teaching assistant and became editor-in-chief...