In a Nutshell: An Attempted Assault on Access to MAiD

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Death and Assisted Dying, Death and Dying, Euthanasia, Law and Policy, Older Adults, Physician-Assisted Dying, Vulnerability


A recent Nova Scotia Court of Appeal decision, Y v Swinemar, raised two key issues that threatened access to medical assistance in dying (MAiD) in Canada:

  1. Do the courts have a role in reviewing MAiD eligibility assessments?
  2. After a person is found eligible for MAiD, can third parties (e.g., family members) go to court to challenge that finding?

The Court answered both questions with a unanimous and resounding “No,” thereby adding judicial support to the legislative and policy mechanisms established to meet what the judge in the lower court characterized as the “constitutional right to the availability of MAiD.”