Dalhousie Law Journal


Canada, resonably forseeable, dying, Canada, medicine, criminal liability, legislation, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, courts


Canada's medical assistance in dying legislation contains the eligibility criterion "naturaldeath has become reasonably foreseeable." The phrase "reasonably foreseeable" is unfamiliar and unclear. As a result of ongoing confusion about its meaning, there is reason to be concerned that under- or over-inclusive interpretations of the phrase are adversely affecting access to MAID. With critical interests at stake (eg access to MAiD and potential criminal liability), it is essential that the meaning of the phrase be clarified. Furthermore, the meaning of "reasonably foreseeable" will be at issue in the Charter challenges to the federal MAiD legislation currently before the courts in British Columbia and Quebec. In order to determine whether the s. 241.2(2) violates the Charter, the courts will first have to determine what "reasonablyforeseeable" means because whether the limits on access to MAiD violate the Charter depends on the scope of the limits. This paper therefore brings the principles of statutory interpretation to bear and proposes an interpretation of "reasonably foreseeable" in an effort to contribute to the judicialconsideration of the meaning of the phrase and to guide clinical practice until clarification is provided by the courts.