Medical Assistance in Dying

Medical Assistance in Dying

Medical assistance in dying (MAID) has been legal in Canada since 2016. Nurse practitioners, physicians, pharmacists, and “persons aiding practitioners” (including nurses) are permitted to help those who have explicitly requested MAID.

Please note that the MAID online learning modules and national framework are being updated and will be available again when completed.


CNA presentations and briefs


MAID became legal in Canada following the royal assent of Bill C-14 on June 16, 2016. The bill created exemptions in the Criminal Code for certain care givers to work with those seeking or receiving MAID. In the fall of 2020, the federal government re-introduced Bill C-7 in response to the Superior Court of Quebec’s September 2019 Truchon decision, which ruled that the MAID was unconstitutional because of its criteria that to have a natural death was reasonably foreseeable natural death as unconstitutional. Bill C-7 was informed by public consultations, including CNA’s participation, held by government in early 2020, of which CNA participated with the MAiD Reference Group’s support. On March 17th, 2021, Bill C-7, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying), became law. This led to the following changes:

  • The removal of the requirement for a person’s natural death to be reasonably foreseeable in order to be eligible to MAID.
  • The removal of the 10-day reflection period between the written request for MAID and the procedure for those whose natural death is reasonably foreseeable.
  • The removal of the requirement for consent at the time of the MAID procedure for those whose natural death is reasonably foreseeable.
  • Requiring only one instead of two independent witnesses to verify written consent for MAID, and that witness may now be a paid health- care worker.
  • The creation of new safeguards for those without a reasonably foreseeable natural death. There now must be 90 days between the first assessment and MAID procedure, which can be shortened if an individual is at risk of losing capacity to consent.

Key issues around MAID still exist, including:

  • Regulations from the federal health minister, in cooperation with the provinces and territories, on data collection for monitoring and analyzing MAID
  • An independent review on MAID in reference to advance directives, mature minors and solely psychiatric illnesses

MAID will no doubt affect nursing and other sectors of the health-care system. If you have questions or concerns about MAID legislation, contact your nursing regulatory body or the Canadian Nurses Protective Society (CNPS).