Canadians Move Away from Conscience Rights in Health Care

Compared to 2020, more Canadians believe practitioners should not be able to refuse services on account of moral beliefs.

Vancouver, BC [November 18, 2022] – Disapproval with the notion of provinces taking legislative action to entrench conscience rights for health care workers has grown in Canada, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 52% of Canadians would oppose a bill that sought to allow health care professionals the ability to have a moral or faith-based objection to providing services, up three points since a similar Research Co. survey conducted in February 2020.

“Opposition to the concept of conscience rights in health care delivery is strongest among Canadians aged 55 and over (56%),” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “The proportions are lower among Canadians aged 35-to-54 (50%) and aged 18-to-34 (48%).”

In 2019, Alberta considered the implementation of Bill 207 which was later abandoned. The proposed legislation sought to enable the province’s health care practitioners to abstain from providing services to an individual if they considered that their conscientious beliefs would be infringed upon.

Just over half of Canadians (51%, +9) disagree with health care professionals having the ability to object to providing services if they have a moral or faith-based objection to physician-assisted death.

Canadians who voted for the New Democratic Party (NDP) (59%) and the Liberal Party (56%) in the 2021 federal election are more likely to disagree with conscience rights in physician-assisted death than those who backed the Conservative Party (40%).

A majority of Canadians (56%, +7) are against health care professionals being able to object to providing services if they have a moral or faith-based objection to abortion.

Opposition to conscience rights on abortion is highest in Quebec (63%), followed by Atlantic Canada (60%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (55%), British Columbia (54%), Alberta (also 54%) and Ontario (50%).

More than three-in-five Canadians (63%, +5) reject the notion of health care practitioners refusing to serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, gender diverse, queer and Two-Spirit (LGBTQ2+) people because of a moral or faith-based objection—a proportion that rises to 69% among both Canadians aged 55 and over and Atlantic Canadians.


Results are based on an online study conducted from November 12 to November 14, 2022, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in Canada. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

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

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.

778.929.0490 [e]