The next Carter? Medical assistance in dying and mature minors

Dov Kagan


In 2016, Parliament legalized medical assistance in dying (MAID) under certain limited circumstances. However,the criminal code provisions relating to MAID remain quite restrictive. A minor cannot ever legally access MAID regardless of their individual maturity or personal circumstances. In this brief article, I review the constitutionality of this restriction in light of the Supreme Court's prior decision in AC v Manitoba (Director of Child and Family Services). In that case, the Court recognized the importance of an individualized approach when assessing the capacity of minors to refuse life-saving medical treatment. I argue that the Court's approach in AC  is in signicant tension with the categorical restriction on MAID for even the most mature minors. I conclude by briefly reviewing some counterviewing considerations, which remain to be addressed by Parliament and the courts going forward.


medical assistance in dying; mature minors; capacity; parliment

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