Alberta Premier Danielle Smith opposes assisted-dying expansion as Ottawa eyes delay
Province objects to expanding eligibility 'without agreement' from Alberta
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith's office says the province objects to Ottawa's plan to extend eligibility for medically assisted death to people whose sole underlying condition is a mental illness.
An update to assisted-dying law passed in 2021 included a two-year sunset clause that would see the expansion take effect this March.
Justice Minister David Lametti is now seeking further delay because he says there are concerns that health-care systems might not be prepared, and the Liberal government wants to do more consultation.
Smith's office said it objects to Ottawa moving forward with expanding eligibility for assisted dying "without agreement" from Alberta.
"Given the government of Alberta's responsibility to deliver health-care services and to regulate the health-care profession, we object to the federal government moving forward with expanding … eligibility without agreement from the province," a statement from Smith's office said.
Her office said the province is consulting with experts about the potential effects that expanding eligibility would have on Alberta's health-care system.
Some federal lawmakers have argued that excluding people with mental illness from access to assisted dying would violate their Charter right to equal treatment under the law.
When he announced the government's intention to delay the expansion, Lametti said he had heard concerns from health-care providers about the system's ability to handle the "more complex" cases.
"That includes having the time to implement those practice standards, and to complete and disseminate key resources that are being developed for clinicians and other health-care system partners," he said in December.