Quebec assisted-dying law to take effect


MONTREAL – Controversial Quebec legislation on assisted dying will become law on Thursday, says the province’s health minister.

Gaetan Barrette made the announcement Wednesday after Quebec’s top tribunal gave the provincial government permission to appeal a lower-court decision that granted an injunction aimed at blocking adoption of the law.

“That (Quebec Court of Appeal) ruling means that, as of tomorrow, Bill 2 will be implemented fully,” he told a news conference.

“The ruling does not state anything for or against Bill 2 in any way. What it says is that, as of tomorrow, Bill 2 can be implemented until there is a definitive hearing and definitive decision…on the actual grounds of the appeal.”

Lawyers will be in court for the appeal against the injunction on Dec. 18, although a decision from the bench that day is considered unlikely.

The injunction sought by the Quebec-based Coalition of Physicians for Social Justice and Lisa D’Amico, a handicapped woman, was related to a Supreme Court ruling last February that struck down the prohibition on physician-assisted dying.

The high court’s decision gave the federal government 12 months to craft a new law to recognize the right of clearly consenting adults with enduring intolerable physical or mental suffering to seek medical help to end their lives.