Only one of every 50 psychiatrists have taken the Canadian government’s training to offer medical assistance in dying (MAiD) to people with mental health issues, testimony to a Parliamentary committee has revealed.Alison Freeland, board chair of the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA), made the revelation to the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying under questioning from James Maloney, the parliamentary secretary for Justice and Liberal MP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore.Maloney commented, “[I]n June 2022, we recommended that we must have standards of practice, clear guidelines, adequate training for practitioners, comprehensive patient assessments, meaningful oversight. The task will require efforts and collaboration of regulators, professional associations, institutional committees and all levels of government. And these actors need to be engaged.”Freeland agreed, “I think those are important parts of being ready for this,” adding she and the CPA had participated in developing those standards. She said Canada had almost 5,000 psychiatrists and the CPA represented just under 2,500 of them.“So, 100 out of 5,000 psychiatrists in Canada have signed up to be part of this new curriculum for providing MAiD to people with mental illness, is that correct?” asked Maloney.“That is information that I provided. I would say the CPA is not monitoring the exact numbers of psychiatrists,” Freeland replied.It struck Maloney, a lawyer and former Toronto city councillor, this indicated very few psychiatrists wanted to participate.“You would agree with me that that's a pretty low number and my math’s not very good and I'm not going to guess the percentage but it's not very high.”The numbers suggest only 2% of psychiatrists wanted to help their mentally ill patients get a medically-assisted death.The federal accredited MAiD training program was announced in July and publicized at a September press conference by Minister of Health Mark Holland and Minister of Mental Health Ya’ara Saks.The curriculum has a series of training modules to advise and support clinicians in assessing persons who request MAiD, including those with mental illness, complex chronic conditions, or who are impacted by structural vulnerability, as well as help with the practical application of the MAiD legislative framework. A combination of online and in-person learning sessions are offered.A Health Canada press release announcing the program said it wanted to protect the mentally ill, but would also help them die.“The Government of Canada is committed to supporting individuals who meet the eligibility criteria to have their MAiD request considered in a fair, safe and consistent manner, while supporting efforts to protect those who may be vulnerable, including persons who suffer from a mental illness,” read the release.Bill C-39, which received Royal Assent March 9, extended the ban on MAiD for persons suffering solely from a mental illness until March 17, 2024. Provincial and federal governments have been making preparations for the upcoming change.To each their own, so long as there is care and compassion, said Holland."MAiD is a deeply personal and complex decision and every individual's journey is unique. Ensuring that MAiD requests are considered with compassion and carefully assessed in a consistent manner across the country is a top priority for the Government of Canada,” he said.“The important work of the Canadian Association of MAiD Assessors and Providers ensures training is available to heath care practitioners across Canada to support MAiD assessments in a fair, safe and consistent manner, including for those persons who suffer solely from a mental illness when it becomes available."On March 27, the federal government supported the release of the Model Practice Standard for MAiD and Advice to the Profession to help clinicians align their practice with clear guidance and assist regulators to ensure the protection of the public in the context of complex MAiD cases, including where the person's sole underlying medical condition is a mental illness.