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Federal Health Minister Mark Holland and Justice Minister Arif Virani respond to questions following the pausing of MAiD expansion (CPAC)

Feds to pause MAiD expansion until 2027

By Adam Riley Feb 1, 2024 | 2:35 PM

Following concerns from provincial and territorial health ministers over readiness, an expansion of medical assistance in death (MAiD) for those suffering from mental illness will be delayed of three years.

Following the introduction of legislation in the House of Commons Thursday morning, Health Minister Mark Holland explained the specifics of those concerns.

“So the problem is you have the curriculum you have the materials that people have to get trained by, and in order for the system to do that training and to get people ready to make sure the right decisions are made…what we want to make sure is the system is trained to that standard.”

The expansion was initially expected to occur next month, but the provinces and territories, who are responsible for the delivery of healthcare in Canada, requested more time to get their systems up to speed.

A provision within the legislation sets up a parliamentary review of readiness for the expansion in 2026.

Holland was joined by Justice Minister Arif Virani who noted the pause a prudent and responsible thing for the federal government to do in order to listen to and address those concerns.

“There are people who want this to happen tomorrow, and there are people who want this to never happen, including some of the people in the Parliament behind me, what we are saying is that this will happen on the go forward. We’re not saying never, we’re putting a pause in terms of the timing.”

While some provinces have indicated a shorter timeline to be ready, Virani says MAiD legislation falls under the Criminal Code of Canada and cannot be pieced out on a province-by-province basis.