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Some Canadians See Government Funded ‘Medical Assistance in Dying’ Preferable to Poverty, Homelessness

Pictured: Amir Farsoud, 54-year-old man seeking medical assistance in dying (MAID) to avoid homelessness (screengrab via YouTube @CityNews)

In light of legislation that has expanded access to medical assistance in dying (MAID), some Canadian residents are considering death as an alternative to ailments that would not have otherwise claimed their lives.

Amir Farsoud, a 54-year-old resident of St. Catharines, Ontario, has applied for MAID in light of a chronic back injury. Only, he openly admits that he does not want to die. 

Farsoud has applied for MAID because the multi-tenant house where he lives is up for sale and he cannot find a new place to live that he can afford. Because of his injury, he relies on Ontario disability support payments, living on a fixed income of just $1,200 a month. 

Referring to the prospect of homelessness, Farsoud told CityNews, “I know in my present health condition, I wouldn’t survive it anyway.” 

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Legislation legalizing MAID was originally passed in June 2016, with eligibility limited to patients with a terminal diagnosis and whose death was imminent. Subsequent legislation was passed in March 2021 to expand eligibility to those whose natural death is not “reasonably foreseeable.” 

In fact, under new requirements, the patients need not even have a “fatal or terminal condition to be eligible.” Guidelines for eligibility include: “have a serious illness, disease or disability,” “be in an advanced state of decline that cannot be reversed,” and “experience unbearable physical or mental suffering from your illness, disease, disability or state of decline that cannot be relieved under conditions that you consider acceptable.”

Because Farsoud’s chronic back condition is a disability that causes both physical pain and mental suffering, he could be approved for MAID in as soon as a month. 

According to CityNews, Farsoud’s doctor is fully aware that Farsoud is seeking MAID not because he wishes to end his life but merely sees it as a favorable alternative to dying from causes resulting from homelessness, yet still approved his request to move forward with the MAID application. 

Farsoud would need a second doctor to sign off on the request, something that the Canadian government told CityNews is unlikely, given safeguard measures in place. 

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“I don’t wish to be dead. Even with the pain, even with the meds, I still want to be here,” Farsoud said, nevertheless adding, “At the end of the day, it’s a personal decision.”