Ottawa granted extension to overhaul medical assistance in dying legislation

gavel

Quebec Superior Court has granted the federal government a five-month extension to revise its legislation on medical assistance in dying, giving Ottawa until just before Christmas to conform with a provincial court ruling.

In a written decision released Monday, Justice Frederic Bachand wrote that Ottawa will have until Dec. 18, 2020, to make the necessary changes _ allowing a delay requested by federal lawyers last week.

It's the second extension granted by the Quebec court since it found parts of both the federal and provincial legislation unconstitutional last fall.

That ruling struck down a provision that allows only individuals whose natural deaths are "reasonably foreseeable'' to be eligible to end their lives with a doctor's help.

The federal government had sought a previous four-month extension of the deadline to July 11, citing the federal election last fall.

A bill revising the federal law was still at the initial stage of the legislative process when the House of Commons adjourned due to the pandemic in mid-March.

(With files from Sidhartha Banerjee of the Canadian Press)