FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 13, 2023
OTTAWA, ON – Less than one-third of Canadians are comfortable with offering medically assisted suicide to those suffering only from a mental illness—and 51% of Canadians oppose it. Those findings are in a new poll by the Angus Reid Institute in partnership with think tank Cardus, which has revealed deep currents of concern about the expansion of medically assisted suicide:
- Majorities in every province and region except Quebec oppose making medically assisted suicide available to people whose sole condition is mental illness.
- Substantial portions of Liberal, Conservative, NDP, and Bloc Québécois voters oppose medically assisted suicide for people whose sole condition is mental illness.
- Almost two-thirds of all Canadians say people should have to exhaust all treatment alternatives before medically assisted suicide becomes available.
- Fully 55% of Canadians worry medically assisted suicide will replace adequate social services.
- Almost a third of Canadians fear more access to medically assisted suicide will mean less emphasis on palliative care.
Rebecca Vachon, health program director at Cardus, says these findings are a wake-up call for the federal justice minister.
“The minister needs to back off from expanding medically assisted suicide to people suffering from mental illness,” says Vachon. “Then the government should work to ensure Canadians can access all mental health and social services they need before even considering the possibility of expansion.”
Ray Pennings, executive vice-president of Cardus, adds the government has to fill major policy gaps.
“When 55% of Canadians worry that medically assisted suicide will replace social services—and a significant number fear it will displace palliative care—it means the government has a lot of homework to do,” says Pennings. “The government should improve safeguards for vulnerable Canadians, make palliative care a universally available health service, and improve palliative care training nationally.”
Full poll results are available online.