New reminders from the Commission on end-of-life care, various reactions from LWD, and press review

We will be devoting a lot of energy to the development of several projects over the coming weeks. Therefore, our weekly communications will be more sporadic. We look forward to presenting you with the fruits of our work on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the adoption of The Act Respecting End-of-Life Care!

You may have noticed that our last two communications did not contain any images and that the hyperlinks were grouped on a single page on our website. We apologize for this. The technical issue has now been resolved.

Congratulations on the 36th edition of Quebec Intellectual Disability Week (kudos to the Quebec Society for Intellectual Disability for its campaign “I belong!”) and don’t forget your mismatched socks on World Down Syndrome Day (kudos to the Québec Trisomy 21 Association for its campaign and video – in French),

Jasmin Lemieux-Lefebvre

Living with Dignity Citizen Network

New reminders from the Commission on end-of-life care

On March 8th, the Commission on end-of-life care issued two reminders to medical aid in dying providers:

1. The Commission notes a growing number of MAiD administrations shortly after the formal request, often within 48 hours. As a safeguard measure to avoid hasty decisions, the Commission requests providers to conduct interviews with the person at different times, spaced by a reasonable period in keeping with the evolution of their condition. Clinical circumstances justifying MAiD within a very short period must be clearly explained in the declaration form, so the Commission can ensure this safeguard measure is respected. 

 2. The Commission requires competent professionals administering MAiD to submit their declaration form within 10 days of administration. The Commission has observed that some declarations are submitted several months later.

You can read here the two-page document (in French) that also gives updates on extensions of MAiD access and shares the information that the use of medical aid in dying increased by 17% in Quebec in 2023 (report by Radio-Canada). We encourage the Commission to continue publishing such reminders. The increasing number of MAiD administrations a very short time after it is requested must be closely monitored.

Reactions to various statements on MAiD

We do our best to react promptly and appropriately to statements made regarding medical aid in dying in Quebec. Here are three examples since our last communication:

March 7th – On this day, the law allowing MAID for severe physical disabilities came into effect in Quebec. The (few) media outlets that covered it failed to mention one of the most important parts of the law: “if the person has a physical disability, ensure they have evaluated “2.1° the possibility of obtaining support, counseling, or accompaniment services, including from the Quebec Office for Persons with Disabilities, a community organization, or a peer helper, such as assistance to initiate a service plan process on their behalf”.

Our reaction (in French)   

March 12th – Open letter from the Quebec Bar Association, the College of Physicians of Quebec, and the Order of Nurses of Quebec urging the federal government to amend the Criminal Code to allow MAID by advance request in cases of neurodegenerative diseases. The text argues that people suffering from conditions such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s would be condemned to years of suffering without the choice of medical aid in dying: “They would be condemned to years of suffering, wandering, and dementia, prisoners of their bodies.”

Our reaction (in French)

Also note the reactions (in French from):
• Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia;
• Prof. Trudo Lemmens;
• Dr. Félix Pageau.

March 13th – Column by Dr. Alain Vadeboncoeur: Too much MAiD, really? 

Our reaction (in French) in the comment section  (the column is published in the April 2024 edition of L’Actualité).

Press review

• Hybrid project on “end of life assistance” arouses strong reactions in France, by Christian Rioux, in Le Devoir.

• Emmanuel Macron’s announcements on end of life: dismay and anger among caregivers. Collective (in French).

• Father asks court to stop 27-year-old daughter’s MAID death, review doctors’ sign-off, by CBC.

• Québec pension: Éric Girard yields (partially), by Daniel Germain, in Le Soleil (in French).

• Open letter : We may never be ready for MAID in cases of mental illness, by Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia (federal riding of Lac-Saint-Louis, located in the west of the island of Montreal), in the Montreal Gazette.

Coup de coeur

Dignity, dementia, autonomy, vulnerability, fragility, care…

These are all concepts rooted in medical practice, especially in caring for elderly people. Dr. Félix Pageau shares some key concepts in caring for elderly people.

A 15-page document (in French) prepared by VITAM – Center for Sustainable Health Research and illustrated by Joanie Bédard. Hats off! To view the original article (in English).