Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD)
Medical assistance in dying (MAiD) is a legal option in Canada that allows eligible patients to ask for medical help to end their life.
Health PEI provides information on MAiD, access to MAiD assessments and procedures across PEI, and patient-centered care throughout the MAiD process.
MAiD can bring up strong feelings. Patients interested in MAiD, along with their family and friends, are supported by a team of doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, spiritual care providers, pharmacists and other health care workers.
At any time in the process, the patient can change their mind or put their plans for MAiD on hold.
Contact the MAiD team
Provincial MAiD Clinic
How will I know if I will qualify for MAiD?
A MAiD provider will meet with you to determine whether you qualify for MAiD and explain what to expect at every stage of the process. A MAiD provider will meet with you to determine whether you qualify for MAiD and explain what to expect at every stage of the process.
To be eligible to receive MAiD, you must:
- be at least 18 years old and capable of making health care decisions by themselves;
- be eligible for health services funded by the government of Canada;
- have an irreversible, grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability) that cannot be relieved under conditions that the patient considers acceptable;
- have made a voluntary request that was not influenced by external pressure; and
- give informed consent after having been informed of the means that are available to relieve their suffering, including palliative care.
A person’s death does not need to be reasonably foreseeable for MAiD eligibility (i.e. they do not need to be at end of life).
Before a person can access MAID, they must:
- have two independent medical assessments;
- submit a written request observed by an independent witness;
- be informed of the right to withdraw the request for MAID at any time; and
- provide final consent immediately before receiving MAID.
Why do people choose a medically assisted death?
People with serious, irreversible medical conditions choose MAiD for a variety of reasons. They may have a low quality of life and/or be unable to enjoy life. They may have intolerable physical or emotional symptoms or be concerned about these developing. They may feel a loss of independence and/or a loss of dignity.
What is the process if I wish to receive medical assistance in dying?
First, speak to your health care provider or contact the MAiD team. They will help with education and the application process. Your health care provider will need to complete a referral form.
You will need to complete a Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) Patient Request and Consent Form.
- Complete this form before your assessment with the MAiD provider.
- You can withdraw or cancel consent at any time.
- If you are unable to physically write your name, another adult can sign the form as your proxy. This adult must be at least 18 years of age, understand what it means to have MAiD, and not knowingly benefit from your death.
- The request form must be signed and dated in front of a witness.
Two different MAiD practitioners (physician or nurse practitioner) will complete two separate assessments. You can bring family members or close friends to the assessments; however, this is not required.
Can I choose where I receive medical assistance in dying?
You can receive MAiD education, assessments, and procedures (if eligible) at the location of your choice including
- your home,
- the home of a family member or friend, or
- any publicly funded health care institution in the community, health care centre or hospital.
What are other options to lessen my suffering and/or receive end-of-life care?
If you are considering MAID, and your natural death is reasonably foreseeable, you may wish to ask your health care provider about palliative care.
The goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of life of people with life-limiting illnesses and to help their families.
Your primary health care provider may work with the palliative care team and other health care providers to help you and your family understand and manage your illness and symptoms.
Choosing MAiD does not prevent you from accessing palliative care. Your MAiD team and your palliative care team can work together to care for you.
What if I change my mind about receiving medical assistance in dying?
You have the right, at any time, to change your mind about receiving medical assistance in dying. The physician or nurse practitioner involved in your request for MAiD will ask you at various points throughout the process if you still wish to proceed with the service.
Will having MAiD impact my insurance policy?
No. Death by MAID is considered a natural death. Insurance contracts will be honoured as long as MAiD follows the law.
Is there a fee to receive medical assistance in dying?
No, there is no fee to request or receive medical assistance in dying.
Can someone else request medical assistance in dying on my behalf?
It is common for a family member or support person to connect individuals with the MAiD team initially, but the actual request must come from the individual considering MAiD.
To seek medical assistance in dying, you are required to be competent at the time of the request. If you are no longer competent to make your own treatment decisions, substitute decision-makers (such as court-appointed guardians, or health care proxy under a Health Care Directive) cannot make the decision to request medical assistance in dying on your behalf.
Can I ask for MAiD in my personal directive?
No. Written directives about MAiD are not allowed.
If I am no longer able to make medical decisions about my health care, can I still receive MAiD?
You must provide written consent before you receive MAID. I
f the MAID Assessors feel that you are at risk of losing the ability to make decisions about your health care (losing capacity), they will talk with you about completing a Final Consent Waiver. This means that you would agree to have MAID on a specific date, even if you have lost the ability to make health care decisions by that date. This option is only available to people whose natural death is reasonably foreseeable.
Does my family need to know about my medical assistance in dying decision?
You do not have to include family members in your health care decisions. The MAiD team can help with family/friend/support person(s) concerns and aid in communication.
Where can I learn more about MAiD in Canada?
- Medical assistance in dying (Government of Canada)
- Dying with Dignity Canada
- Bridge C-14
- CAMAP (Canadian Association of MAiD Assessors and Providers)
- Canadian Virtual Hospice
- Preparing for Death and Dying A Guide for People with Life-Limiting Illness, Their Families and Their Friends (Nova Scotia Health Authority)
- Advance Care Planning (PEI)
- Advance Care Planning (Nova Scotia Resources)