OTTAWA -- The federal government has introduced a long-awaited and controversial new law spelling out the conditions in which seriously ill or dying Canadians may seek medical help to end their lives.

Here is a look at some of those conditions the proposed legislation sets out.

A person who wants medical help to die must:

  • Be a mentally competent adult, 18 years or older;
  • Make the request voluntarily and give informed consent;
  • Have a serious and incurable disease, illness or disability;
  • Be in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability;
  • Be experiencing enduring and intolerable suffering as a result of their medical condition;
  • Be on a course toward the end of life. Death would have to be reasonably foreseeable in all the circumstances of a person's health but there would not have to be a specific prognosis or prospected time period before death.
  • Make a written request, or have a designated person do so if they were incapable. The request must be signed by two independent witnesses and then evaluated by two independent physicians or authorized nurse practitioners.
  • There would be a mandatory 15 day period of reflection unless death or loss of capacity to consent is imminent. Patients would be able to withdraw request at any time.