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.