Three-in-Four Canadians Back Medical Assistance in Dying Rules

Almost three-in-five respondents personally think the practice should be permitted, but only under specific circumstances.

Vancouver, BC [January 15, 2021] – The regulations that allow people in Canada to seek medical assistance in dying under specific conditions are endorsed by a large majority of the country’s residents, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 76% of Canadians support the practice under the current guidelines specified by the federal government:

  • Being eligible for health services funded by the federal government, or a province or territory (or during the applicable minimum period of residence or waiting period for eligibility).
  • Being at least 18 years old and mentally competent.
  • Having a grievous and irremediable medical condition.
  • Making a voluntary request for medical assistance in dying that is not the result of outside pressure or influence.
  • Giving informed consent to receive medical assistance in dying.

Support for the regulations to seek medical assistance in dying is high across all groups, but the measure is particularly accepted among Canadians aged 55 and over (82%).

At least four-in-five residents of Alberta (84%) and Saskatchewan and Manitoba (80%) are in favour of the current guidelines to seek medical assistance in dying, along with 79% of British Columbians, 77% of Quebecers, 74% of Ontarians and 74% of Atlantic Canadians.

When asked about their personal feelings on this issue, almost three-in-five Canadians (58%) believe medical assistance in dying should be allowed, but only under specific circumstances. 

Only one-in-five Canadians (20%) would always allow the practice regardless of who requests it, while one-in-ten (11%) would never permit it.

“Majorities of Canadians who voted for each of the three major parties in the last federal election are personally in favour of permitting medical assistance in dying under specific circumstances,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “This includes 64% of those who voted for the Liberal Party and 58% of those who voted for either the Conservative Party or the New Democratic Party (NDP).”

Just over two-in-five Canadians (43%) say they are satisfied with the regulations that are currently in place in Canada to deal with the issue of medical assistance in dying, while 26% are dissatisfied and 31% are undecided.

Results are based on an online study conducted from January 9 to January 11, 2021, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error – which measures sample variability – is +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.