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441-02064 (Justice)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons


  • Canadians with mental illness should be provided with treatment and support;

  • Mental illness is complex and can include suicidal thoughts as a symptom; and

  • The lives of Canadians with mental illness will be at risk when they are eligible for medical assistance in dying (MAID) on the basis of mental illness alone, especially when treatment and support are not readily available.

Therefore we, the undersigned citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to reverse the law extending eligibility for MAID to people with mental illness as their sole medical condition.

Response by the Minister of Health

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Yasir Naqvi

The Government of Canada believes that Canadians deserve to live in comfort and dignity, with access to care, including end-of-life care, that is appropriate to their needs and that respects their wishes. It recognizes that medical assistance in dying (MAID) is a very personal choice, and is committed to a measured, thoughtful and compassionate approach to help ensure that Canada’s MAID system meets the needs of people in Canada, protect those who may be vulnerable, and supports autonomy and freedom of choice of individuals. The safety and security of our most vulnerable people remains at the forefront of our actions as the Government takes a careful and considered approach on the implementation of MAID for persons where the sole underlying condition is mental illness.

Important progress has been made to prepare for MAID eligibility for persons whose sole medical condition is a mental illness. However, in consultations with the provinces, territories, medical professionals and other stakeholders, the Government of Canada has heard – and agrees – that the health system is not yet ready for this expansion.

On February 29, 2024, Bill C-62 received Royal Assent and immediately came into force. The legislation delays by three years eligibility for MAID for persons suffering solely from a mental illness, until March 17, 2027. Additionally, the new law requires that a joint parliamentary committee undertake a comprehensive review relating to the eligibility for MAID of persons whose sole underlying medical condition is a mental illness within two years. This measure will further serve to examine progress made by provinces, territories, and partners, in achieving overall health care system readiness.

This three-year extension will provide provinces and territories with additional time to ensure their health care systems are ready, as well as provide practitioners with more time to participate in training and become familiar with available supports, guidelines and standards.

This delay is also in line with the recommendations of the Special Joint Committee on MAID (AMAD) in their report, MAID and Mental Disorders: The Road Ahead, which was tabled on January 29, 2024. While recognising that considerable progress has been made in preparing for the expansion of eligibility for persons suffering solely mental illness, AMAD recommended that it not be made available in Canada until the health care system can safely and adequately provide MAID for these cases.

Supporting the mental health and well-being of Canadians remains a priority for the Government of Canada. Work with provinces and territories, and stakeholders, including through Government of Canada investments, will continue to support individuals and communities across the country who need help, now and in the future.

The Government of Canada has made significant investments in this space. For example, Budget 2023 confirmed the Government’s commitment to invest close to $200 billion over ten years, starting in 2023-24, to improve health care for Canadians, including $25 billion to the Provinces and Territories via tailored bilateral agreements which will focus on four key priorities, including improving access to mental health and substance use services and the integration of these services in community family health services. This investment will build on the Budget 2017 investments, which include $2.4 billion from 2023-24 to 2026-27 that has yet to flow to PTs for mental health and addictions services.

Through the Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) Mental Health Promotion Innovation Fund (MHP-IF), the Government of Canada is investing $39 million from 2019-2028 to address multiple risk and protective factors to promote mental health for children, youth, young adults, and caregivers. The MHP-IF aims to improve mental health for individuals and communities where interventions are delivered and to reduce systemic barriers for population mental health in Canada. Target population include First Nations, Inuit, Métis, newcomers, 2SLGBTQI+, and other groups experiencing socio-economic risk factors.

In addition, Budget 2023 announced $158.4 million over three years to support the implementation and operation of the 9-8-8: Suicide Crisis Helpline. 9-8-8 went live and operational on November 30, 2023 and is providing people across Canada with access to suicide prevention support through trained responders by phone calls and text, 24/7/365, in English and French.  The 9-8-8: Suicide Crisis Helpline is led by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), which has recruited 39 local, provincial, and national crisis and distress lines to the 9-8-8 responder network to offer suicide prevention supports across Canada. Since its launch, 9-8-8 has received approximately 1,000 phone calls and 350 texts each day.

Mental health and the well-being of Canadians is a priority for the Government, and we will continue to invest in mental health services and work with Provinces and Territories and key stakeholders to support the mental health needs of individuals and communities across the country, now and in the future.

Presented to the House of Commons
Alex Ruff (Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound)
February 2, 2024 (Petition No. 441-02064)
Government response tabled
March 18, 2024
Photo - Alex Ruff
Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound
Conservative Caucus

26 signatures

Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.