The expansion of Canada's euthanasia law, also known as medically assisted death (MAID), has had unintended consequences for some people with disabilities. Bill C-14, passed in 2016, legalized euthanasia for people with a "reasonably foreseeable" death. An amendment to the law, Bill C-7, further expanded the scope of legal euthanasia to include individuals suffering unbearably from a serious and incurable illness, disease, or disability, even if their death is not reasonably foreseeable. While the intention behind the law was to help people die with dignity, it has had unintended consequences for some individuals who may choose to end their lives due to a lack of quality social services.
One example is Amir Farsoud, who has never-ending back pain that qualified him for euthanasia. Farsoud did not want to die, but after fearing he would lose his housing, he applied for MAID as an alternative to homelessness. He had already received the approval of one doctor and was waiting for the required 90 days to pass before obtaining the approval of a second doctor when his story was published. A GoFundMe campaign raised more than $60,000 from people around the world and has given him a new lease on life. Farsoud has since put his application for MAID away, but his story has raised questions about the ethics of applying for MAID due to poverty.
Another example is a Canadian Forces veteran who suffered from traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and was casually offered euthanasia by a Veterans Affairs employee. These cases illustrate the potential risks of the expanded euthanasia law in Canada and raise concerns about the impact on individuals with disabilities who may not have access to quality social services.
In conclusion, while the intention behind MAID is to help people die with dignity, it is important to consider the potential unintended consequences of the law. In light of these examples, it is clear that more guardrails are needed to ensure that MAID is not being used as a shortcut to stop supporting citizens in Canada, particularly those who are chronically ill and unable to afford housing.