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Prioritise Mental Health, Not MAiD, Say Canadians

82% of Canadians say no to expanded euthanasia without first improving mental health care access


September 28, 2023 

OTTAWA, ON – More than eight in 10 Canadians agree that euthanasia and assisted suicide eligibility “should not be expanded without improving access to mental health care first.” That finding comes from a public opinion survey by the Angus Reid Institute in partnership with Cardus. The same poll also found:

  • 88% agree that those with mental illness should be offered all treatment alternatives before euthanasia and assisted suicide are available to them
  • 52% fear treating mental health won’t be a priority if eligibility for euthanasia and assisted suicide is expanded
  • 64% fear people with existing challenges in accessing mental health care will be made more vulnerable if eligibility is expanded

Rebecca Vachon, health program director at Cardus, says that Canada needs to address existing issues in the availability and accessibility of mental health care before expanding MAiD.

“The federal government’s current expansion plans are irresponsible,” says Vachon, citing the plan to expand MAiD for mental illness as a sole underlying condition in March 2024. “Canadians clearly want better access to mental health. That should be the federal government’s priority on this file.”

The same survey found that 43% of Canadians who sought help for their own mental health had difficulty accessing in-patient programs for suicide-prevention, eating disorders, addictions, or other serious issues. Meanwhile, 44% had difficulty accessing general mental health therapy, while 39% had difficulty getting counselling. Many also noted high costs and long wait times.

“It’s striking that two-thirds of Canadians believe expanded euthanasia will make those who need help even more vulnerable,” says Vachon. “And we can’t ignore Canadians’ fears that euthanasia will also displace mental health care as we quickly approach the March 2024 expansion. Clearly we need more time.”

The survey was conducted September 19-22, 2023 among a representative randomized sample of 1,872 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The poll report is available online.


Daniel Proussalidis
Cardus – Director of Communications

Shachi Kurl
Angus Reid Institute – President

Cardus – Imagination toward a thriving society
Cardus is a non-partisan think tank dedicated to clarifying and strengthening, through research and dialogue, the ways in which society’s institutions can work together for the common good.