Autonomy and Beneficence in Assisted Dying in Canada: The Eligibility of Mature Minors


  • Juliet Guichon Assistant Professor, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary.
  • Farah Mohamed Practicing Health Law Lawyer, Calgary, Alberta.
  • Kim Clarke Bennett Jones Law Library and Adjunct Associate Professor of Law, University of Calgary.
  • Ian Mitchell Clinical Professor of Pediatrices, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary.



In Carter v. Canada (Attorney General), the Supreme Court of Canada legalized physicianassisted dying. Responding to this decision, Parliament passed Bill C-14, which provides that adults who suffer intolerably from a terminal medical condition may seek assistance to end their lives. Notably, the legislation does not grant access to mature minors. This article considers whether access should be granted, examining the Canadian assisted dying framework, situations of minors who might seek assisted dying, the law concerning mature minor consent to medical treatment, and other jurisdictions that grant access to mature minors. It argues that the ethical principles of autonomy and beneficence that underlie the Carter decision should be used to determine whether mature minors should have access to physician-assisted dying.