(Quebec) Allowing only people with severe and incurable “neuromotor” disabilities to access expanded eligibility for medical assistance in dying could be deemed discriminatory and lead to legal challenges, warns the Office of people with disabilities in Quebec. This notion, which is debated, should be studied in a “forum” parallel to the parliamentary committee studying Bill 11, the Liberals propose.
The member of the Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ), Jennifer Maccarone, proposed Wednesday to the Minister for Health and Seniors, Sonia Bélanger, to deepen the delicate question of neuromotor disabilities, which are not defined by her draft law. Like former PQ member Véronique Hivon, who testified Tuesday in a parliamentary committee, Ms. Maccarone believes that we must “take the time to listen to all the experts and all the people interested in the issue of access to medical assistance in dying so that this law can reflect as accurately as possible the values and the will of all Quebecers”.
“This bill touches on complex and sensitive elements, some of which we have never debated in the history of the National Assembly,” said the Liberal.
On Tuesday, on the second day of public hearings for Bill 11, the Office des personnes Handicapés du Québec also called on the government to “define or circumscribe [a] list of medical diagnoses that [define] the notion of ‘neuromotor disability’ . According to the Agency’s understanding, the government’s intention would be to refer to certain diagnoses such as “traumatic paraplegia, traumatic quadriplegia, paralysis of a traumatic limb, amputation of traumatic origin, cerebral palsy, spinal malformation and paralysis, paresis, chromosomal disorders, multiple impairments including a neuromotor disorder”.
However, “the Office does not have any data or research results demonstrating that this group of disabled people has particular characteristics with regard to constant and unbearable physical or psychological suffering which differentiates them from other disabled people with disabilities. important and who may eventually qualify for medical assistance in dying,” he said.
“Targeting this specific group in this way is potentially discriminatory against other segments of this population under the Canadian and Quebec charters of rights and freedoms and gives rise to legal action if this solution is not based on a rigorous and inclusive approach in the medium term,” the Office added.
On Tuesday, the College of Physicians of Quebec asked parliamentarians to expand access to medical assistance in dying to people with severe disabilities, rather than just people with severe and incurable “neuromotor” disabilities.