The Act Respecting End-of-Life Care was passed on June 5, 2014, and assented to on June 10, 2014. The provisions of the Act set out on this page came into force on December 10, 2015. The federal enactment amending provisions of the Criminal Code that deal with medical assistance in dying came into force on June 17, 2016. In compliance with this law, modifications required for Québec are incorporated into the information on this page.
The information on this page does not replace that of the official legislations.
The Act Respecting End-of-Life Care is designed to provide a framework for palliative care and medical aid in dying.
End-of-life situations can be difficult. Despite quality care and support given to patients at the end of life, in a minority of cases, palliative care may not be sufficient to relieve suffering in a satisfactory manner. The Act Respecting End-of-Life Care allows an additional option to be offered to these persons for whom all therapeutic, curative and palliative options have been deemed unsatisfactory and who would rather die than continue to suffer.
Medical aid in dying consists of a doctor administering medication to patients at the end of life, at their request, in order to relieve their suffering by bringing about their death.
Medical aid in dying is an exceptional intervention with very restrictive conditions. The use of this intervention is governed by strict guidelines set out in the Act.
Requests for medical aid in dying are rare. In some countries where this possibility exists, and where access criteria are different and less restrictive than in Québec, it is estimated that medically assisted deaths represent about 2% of all deaths.
Last update: January 30, 2017