A former Quebec cardiologist who stabbed his two young children to death was granted release Wednesday from a mental institution, 46 months after the killings.

Guy Turcotte was set to leave Montreal’s Pinel institute with conditions, after he was found not criminally responsible for stabbing his five-year-old son and three-year-old daughter nearly 46 times while they slept in their beds in 2009.

He had been held at the facility since the court’s verdict in July 2011. The Crown has filed an appeal.

A three-member panel unanimously approved Turcotte’s release Wednesday.

As part of the conditions surrounding his release, Turcotte will have to attend annual mental health check-ups, continue therapy, live at an address approved by the Pinel Institute and avoid all contact with his ex-wife.

The panel heard from Pierre Rochette, the psychiatrist overseeing Turcotte’s care.

Rochette said he’s “satisfied” with Turcotte’s progress over the past six months. He also said Turcotte does not represent an immediate or short-term danger to society.

Turcotte admitted to stabbing his children in February 2009, but said he didn’t remember doing it. He also said he hadn’t wanted to do it and had been going through blackouts on the night the stabbings occurred.

He said the recent breakup of his marriage had caused him to be extremely distressed. His wife had left him for her personal trainer, who was also a family friend.

The case is one of several that have prompted proposed changes to the Criminal Code, including the 2008 beheading of a 22-year-old man in a Manitoba Greyhound bus and the 2008 murder of three B.C. children by their father.

The Conservatives announced proposed amendments to the Criminal Code in November, including plans to make it more difficult for mentally ill offenders found not criminally responsible to be released from custody.

They plan to introduce a bill in the House of Commons next year that would make public safety the paramount factor for review boards who decide when an offender can be released.

With files from CTV Montreal and The Canadian Press