Provinces concerned about expanding assisted-dying for mental disorders: Holland

Health Minister Mark Holland says some of his provincial counterparts have concerns about whether Canada is ready to extend medical assistance in dying to people with severe mental illnesses.

Holland shared the feedback at a Liberal cabinet retreat just weeks before the federal government must decide if it will go ahead or delay implementation a second time.

Medical assistance in dying has been legal in Canada since 2016, but those whose sole underlying condition is a mental disorder are not currently eligible.

Parliament approved plans to lift that restriction, but decided to wait until March in the face of widespread concerns over possible consequences.

A joint committee of parliamentarians has been studying whether the health-care system is prepared for the change, and those findings are expected next week.

Holland says it makes sense to wait for their recommendations, but notes the government will have to take prompt action afterward.

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