Legalization of Assisted Suicide in Canada

by InfoBased on March 15, 2017 - 1:54pm

      Assisted suicide has been a widely discussed ethical issue worldwide due to its extremely controversial nature and the question that only 14 countries, including Canada, have answered since 1940, should people have the right to demand assisted suicide? First of all, we need to explore the terms that needs to be met in order to demand such actions to take place, on June 17th 2016, new federal legislation came into effect by creating various criteria that the patient must meet in order to legally demand assisted suicide. The list of mandatory criteria is extensive but to briefly explain, the patient must be "at least 18 years of age and capable of making decisions with respect to their health; they have a grievous and irremediable medical condition;" ("End-of-Life Law and Policy in Canada", 2016). The court's decision places Canada in a small group of countries which have put guidelines that allow people to ask for medical help in order to end their life, this group includes countries such as Belgium and U.S states such as Washington and Oregon as well as a small number of other countries.

In a case 22 years ago, Sue Rodriguez, at 42 years old she was refused the right to a doctor-assisted suicide regardless of the fact that she was suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) which is a life-threatening disease which has no known cure and can cause stiff muscles, muscle twitching and gradually worsening weakness because of muscles decreasing in size and can eventually can lead to difficulty speaking, swallowing and in later stages breathing. Cases such as Sue's have always been present and up for discussion in courts worldwide, yet it is rare to see a case like this getting granted permission to receive the help the patient wants. Canada taking the first steps into allowing doctor-assisted suicide for special cases such as Sue's is a great initiative on their part and definitely deserves the all the respect they will get. A quote from (Justice Minister Peter Mackay),"This is a sensitive issue for many Canadians, with deeply held beliefs on both sides. We will study the decision and ensure all perspectives on this difficult issue are heard," gives me the confidence that the court is on the same page and path that the citizens of Canada are on and that future decisions on the matter will most definitely be with the publics opinion in mind. 

In conclusion, Canada has shown great initiative in the legalization of doctor-assisted suicide for patients which meet the criteria they have put into place and further changes within this criteria will definitely be in favor of the publics opinion if we take in consideration how much impact we have had already in this particular subject. Do you think we should allow doctor-assisted suicide all countries or should we let nature take its course no matter how painful it may be in the end? 




1. Fine, Sean. “Supreme Court rules Canadians have right to doctor-Assisted suicide.” The Globe and Mail, The Globe and Mail, 8 Mar. 2016, Accessed 15 Mar. 2017.

2. “Assisted Suicide.” End-of-Life Law and Policy in Canada, Accessed 15 Mar. 2017.


I think we should allow doctor-assisted suicide. Indeed, there are many cases just like the one you described where the decease that a person is facing is too painful to imagine. It is difficult to imagine how hard it must be to have difficulty breathing for days. It is not everyone who has the strength to face such hard times. It is understandable that a person might want to end their lives instead of living with unimaginable pain all over their body and then die at the end. Some people might not be able to take the decision of living or dying, but a list of people close to the sick person could be made and they could talk about what is the best thing to do. Humans are not made to suffer that much pain and an assisted suicide should be an option to consider at some point.

I think that all countries should legalize assisted suicide. I think it should be a human right to have the choice to pick whether to live or not. In our society, we are really focused on saving the person and sometimes we do not necessarily take the time to understand the patient's thoughts and feelings about his or her condition. I think that if there are no ways out, meaning that no medication or surgery that can save the person, the person should have the right to die. Nobody should go through that much pain, it is inhuman to let a human being in this difficult state. However, if there is a way out and if the disease can heal in a short or long term, I think that the patient should give it chance because it might workout. But in the end, I truly think that it is the patient's decision and that no one should make someone suffer and go through a lot of pain.