IG news Update,
The office of Alberta Premier Danielle Smith says the province has opposed Ottawa’s plan to expand eligibility for medically-assisted dying for people whose only underlying condition is a mental illness.
An update to the assisted-dying law passed in 2021 includes a two-year sunset clause that will see the extension take effect this March.
Justice Minister David Lammetti is now seeking a further delay because he says there are concerns the health care system may not be ready, and the Liberal government wants more consultation.
Smith’s office said it objected to Ottawa proceeding with expanding eligibility for aid “without agreement” from Alberta.
A statement from Smith’s office said, “Given the responsibility of the Government of Alberta to deliver health care services and to regulate the health care profession, we object to the federal government proceeding with the extension. .. eligibility without agreement from the province.”
Her office said the province is consulting with experts about the potential impact that expanding eligibility would have on Alberta’s health care system.
Some federal lawmakers have argued that excluding people with mental illness from assisted dying would violate their charter right to equal treatment under the law.
When he announced the government’s intention to delay the expansion, Lametti said he had heard concerns from health care providers about the system’s ability to handle “more complex” cases.
“This includes time to implement those practice standards and to complete and disseminate key resources being developed for physicians and other health care system partners,” he said in December.