Medical Assistance in Dying: The dangers of offering MAiD to those with disabilities and/or mental illness alone
Canadians with disabilities are currently the only group who can seek Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) on the basis of having a disability alone, without being near end-of-life. This further stigmatizes people with disabilities and institutionalizes systemic violence against them. Inclusion Alberta continues to advocate to have this reversed.
On March 17, 2024, individuals in Canada whose sole underlying medical condition is a mental illness will also become eligible for MAiD, unless the federal government decides not to go forward as planned. Doctors can’t predict when a mental illness will or will not improve. While people with mental illness can benefit from supports and can get better, they will soon have assisted suicide legally available to them.
Many people with a mental illness cannot access the supports and services they require to improve their mental health – it’s morally abhorrent to offer them assisted suicide. When we consider the intersections of disability, mental illness, and even being 2SLGBTQ+ and/or Indigenous, it magnifies the fact that some of our most vulnerable community members are being provided assisted suicide as an option rather than the supports they need to live a good life.
Our national federation organization, Inclusion Canada, has provided an infographic that helps spell out the high rates of mental illness among marginalized populations and the dangers of offering MAiD to those with disabilities and/or mental illness alone. Contact your Member of Parliament today and tell them to reverse allowing MAiD on the basis of disability alone and to stop the planned expansion to include mental illness.
To learn more about Inclusion Alberta’s advocacy to safeguard Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada, visit inclusionalberta.org/maid