A 2015 ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada and a decision by Quebec’s Superior Court in 2019 played key roles in the development of MAID policies in Canada.

Canadian court decisions have been instrumental in prompting lawmakers to open assisted suicide to more Canadians—including to those who are not terminally ill, and soon to those whose sole condition is mental illness.

Before the landmark 2015 Supreme Court ruling that spurred the government to first legalize medical assistance in dying (MAID), helping someone commit suicide carried a penalty of up to 14 years in prison.

The 2015 ruling marked a reversal from the court’s 1993 decision to uphold a prohibition on assisted suicide. These two decisions, along with a 2019 decision by Quebec’s Superior Court, have been key to MAID policies in Canada.

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