Philippe Couillard Quebec Right-to-Die
Quebec's Premier Philippe Couillard voted in favour of the bill.Reuters

The Canadian state of Quebec has adopted landmark legislation allowing terminally ill patients to have medical aid in dying.

The National Assembly of Quebec approved the so called 'Dying with Dignity' law, or Bill 52, with a 94-22 majority.

The vote was celebrated by most lawmakers in the predominantly French-speaking state.

"I want to congratulate ourselves as parliamentarians," Carole Poirier a Member of the National Assembly (MNA) with the separatist Quebec Party said. "Quebec is a beautiful society, and again today Quebec has just shown that we are really, really a different society."

The bill stipulates that terminally ill patients can demand doctors administer them continuous palliative sedation that would eventually lead to their death.

The request has to be made by adults who are mentally sound and are affected by a condition causing unbearable physical or psychological suffering.

Quebec Party MNA Veronique Hivon, who co-sponsored the bill, described it as an "emergency exit" provided to those exposed to "exceptional suffering" that cannot be relieved by palliative care, the National Post reported.

The legislation has divided Canada's public opinion and the federal government has said it could challenge its legality, for assisted suicide and euthanasia are illegal under Canada's federal Criminal Code.

Supporters of the right-to-die bill have argued that it doesn't deal with euthanasia, but with providing medical care and health-care laws fall within the provincial and not the federal jurisdiction.

Euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg, while assisted suicide is allowed in a handful of other countries such as Switzerland, and the US states of Oregon, Washington, and Vermont.