[Anglican Journal] The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2015 that parts of the country’s Criminal Code that prohibited medically assisted deaths were in violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Since June 2016, medical assistance in dying (MAiD) has been legal in Canada for adults over the age of 18 with a “grievous and irremediable medical condition.” The government of Canada reported in April 2019 that at least 6,749 Canadians had accessed MAiD since the legislation was enacted, with MAiD deaths accounting for around 1 percent of deaths in Canada during each of the government’s reporting time frames.
Like doctors, nurses and other front-line health care workers, hospital chaplains and spiritual care providers see the system up close — with all its flaws, oversights and messy details, as well as its beauty and hope. Chaplains may be there from the first time a patient considers MAiD to when the family has been led from the room after the procedure.
As MAiD becomes an ever more available option, for many spiritual care practitioners it has become an important and sometimes difficult aspect of ministry.