The top court said it would be allowed in the case of consenting adults who are suffering intolerably from a severe and incurable medical condition, whether physical or psychological, and the illness does not have to be terminal. The decision takes effect in 12 months.
"We do not agree that the existential formulation of the right to life requires an absolute prohibition on assistance in dying, or that individuals cannot 'waive' their right to life," the court said.
Canada's parliament could possibly overturn the decision, but Reuter's predicts it as unlikely (UPDATE: A reader tells me that actually the parliament can't just overturn a supreme court decision, and the statement that it could has been deleted from the Reuter's piece I've quoted). Parliament will still have to set up the regulatory framework for how physician-assisted suicide will work. In that way, the decision is not unlike when the Canada's top court struck down the country's existing prostitution laws and ordered the country to come up with a new framework. Unfortunately, what Canada ended up implementing didn't appear to be an improvement from the previous laws, which essentially technically allowed legal prostitution but forbid advertising or allowing sex workers to organize brothels.
So while the ruling does look like a huge win for the right of adults to make important medical decisions about their own lives and how much they're willing to suffer, Canadians should keep an eye on what their parliament actually does about it.
Below, Reason TV on assisted suicide in Montana, which is almost Canada: