Dalhousie Law Journal


end-of-life, law, policy, Canada, medical assistance, dying, Quebec, right to life, suffering, autonomy, Supreme Court of Canada, legislation, criminal code


There have been numerous and challenging developments respecting endof-life care in Canada. In Quebec, political consensus and changes in public opinion led to the adoption of end-of-life care legislation. This paper discusses the context and foundation of that reform and reviews its content with the objective of informing the future of end-of-life care in Canada. In the first part of the paper I explore the balancing of the right to life and autonomy, with a focus on the approach chosen in Quebec by the Legal Experts Panel Report. In Part 11, I discuss Quebec's adoption of An Act Respecting End-of-Life Care, which recognized the precedence of the right to autonomy at the end of life and what it entails. I also highlight the differences between the approaches of Quebec and the Supreme Court in the Carter decision to show how Carter affects the future of the Quebec Act and, conversely, how Quebec's laws affect the development of federal or provincial and territorial laws as we saw with the adoption of legislation to amend the Criminal Code.