Canada officially legalized doctor assisted suicide on Friday. The Supreme Court removed a ban on the practice last year and legislation was presented to legalise it in April. The bill has a number of safeguards on it, like a 15 day waiting period and the requirement that 2 independent witnesses be present.
In addition to these safeguards, the bill also requires that the patient have an incurable disease, illness or disability and that this affliction is in an advanced stage of “irreversible decline”. The patient must also be 18 years old, “mentally competent”, and eligible for government-funded healthcare.
The requirement that they be eligible for government-funded health care limits the access to the service to just Canadian citizens and permanent residence of Canada, thus eliminating the possibility of “suicide tourism”.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has backed the legislation and with its passage Canada has become one of the few nations on earth that allow terminally ill patients to choose how and when they die.