About-face and impact for people with disabilities – 8th day of public consultation

The parliamentary commission on Bill 52 has heard from five groups on this 8th day of public consultation. It has been suggested to separate medical aid in dying from palliative care and to elaborate another law concerning medical aid in dying. One of the groups has radically changed positions and no longer supports the bill while another group has stated that they are very preoccupied with the impact a law such as this may have and what risks it would pose to the security of people with disabilities.

Invited groups

  1. Société québécoise des médecins de soins palliatifs
  2. NOVA Montreal
  3. Centre de recherche et d'intervention sur le suicide et l'euthanasie (CRISE)
  4. Association du Québec pour l'intégration sociale (AQIS)
  5. Confédération des organismes des personnes handicapées du Québec (COPHAN)

Separate law

After having heard so many groups affirm that medical aid in dying (or euthanasia) is not a treatment and should not be included in a law on palliative care, the Quebec Liberal Party has asked if it would not be preferable to elaborate a separate law on medical aid in dying.

In his presentation on behalf of the Research and Intervention Center on Suicide and Euthanasia, Dr. Brian Mishara gave the best answer to the question. Whether we be speaking of one or two laws, he said, one thing must be clear: medical aid in dying mustn't be considered like a treatment, neither palliative, nor "end-of-life". What's more, we have to make palliative care available to all those who need it.


During the consultation that brought about Bill 52, NOVA Montreal was in agreement with the idea of euthanasia. But today in parliamentary commission, the organisation pronounced itself against such a practice. Its position radically changed following an in-depth study on the question. The spokespeople for NOVA stated that we musn't think of euthanasia as long as palliative care isn't available to everyone - they share the same point of view as CRISE.

Risks for the handicapped

As for AQIS, they fear for the security of people with disabilities. Although the "end-of-life" concept is included in the preliminary versions of the bill, the eligibility criteria to access medical aid in dying does not specify that a person must be facing imminent death. As formulated, the bill allows people with disabilities to access medical aid in dying. AQIS underlined the enormous risk that people with mental impairments who are considered fit face; many are very influencable and would not understand the gravity of such an action.