Survey finds support among Canadians for broader assisted-dying law

The survey was conducted Jan. 17 to 21 among 1,552 Canadians eligible to vote

As the federal government moves to revise the law on assisted dying, new survey results suggest most Canadians support medical help to end suffering even when a natural death is some time away.

In a web survey conducted this month for The Canadian Press, polling firm Leger found 86 per cent of respondents agreed that people with a serious, degenerative and incurable disease should be able to request and obtain medical assistance in dying.

Seventy-four per cent of those who took part said medical assistance in dying should be accessible to all people with incurable diseases, even if their death is not fast approaching.

Agreement with this notion of a broader assisted-dying regime ranged from 66 per cent in Manitoba and Saskatchewan to 84 per cent in Quebec.

There was also little variation among people who identified as supporters of the three main federal parties.

The results come as the Trudeau government works to comply with a Superior Court of Quebec ruling that concluded it is unconstitutional to allow only Canadians who are already near death to seek medical help to end their lives.

“Based on these numbers, it’s all green lights for the federal government to move ahead,” said Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque.

The survey was conducted Jan. 17 to 21 among 1,552 Canadians eligible to vote who were randomly recruited from an online panel. Since polls created from Internet panels are not random samples, however, the survey can’t be assigned a margin of error.

The polling firm says that using data from the 2016 census, results were weighted according to age, gender, mother tongue, region and level of education in order to ensure a representative sample of the population.

READ MORE: Feds launch consultation on who’s allowed to seek medically assisted death

The Quebec court gave the government until March 11 to amend the current law, which took effect four years ago following a landmark Supreme Court of Canada ruling that struck down the previous prohibition on doctor-assisted death.

The government is seeking views through an online questionnaire, closing Jan. 27, on how the law should be changed.

Justice Minister David Lametti, Health Minister Patty Hajdu and Carla Qualtrough, the minister for disability inclusion, are also consulting key voices at roundtables and other meetings.

The Leger poll yielded some views on questions the government has asked Canadians to ponder.

For instance, 74 per cent of respondents said people should be allowed to express an advance wish for medical assistance in dying if one day they should be diagnosed with a serious, degenerative and incurable disease.

Seventy-three per cent agreed with the option of making an advance request for help ending their lives, using an official application form, as soon as a person has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and is still lucid.

Just under half of respondents said the current 10-day period of reflection between requesting and receiving a medically assisted death should be increased.

Jim Bronskill , The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cermaq Canada continues to adapt operations amid Covid-19 pandemic while supporting employees and local communities

As governments, communities and Canadians continue to modify behaviors and activities based… Continue reading

COVID-19: North Islanders bang pots and pans to honour essential workers

‘Hopefully we can keep it going for them because these people are showing up at work every day for us’

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: Juvenile eagle

‘I was able to drive up close to it and get a few pictures without getting out of the truck’

Port Hardy Secondary School’s 2019-2020 wrestling season

Both Lamothe and Speck thanked Cleary for volunteering his time to sponsor the program.

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

Family uses social media to help truckers find places to eat during pandemic

Restaurants Serving Drivers in Western Canada seeks to provide a list of places open for drivers

Cowichan couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

B.C. health officer says homemade masks may prevent spread of COVID-19 to others

Practising physical distancing, frequent hand washing and resisting touching your face are proven methods

B.C.’s senior home staff measures show results in COVID-19 battle

Dr. Bonnie Henry’s order restricts care aides to one facility

Independent investigation praises RCMP actions in Vancouver Island suicide attempt

Man hurt in incident that took place near Nanoose Bay in September of 2019

‘A matter of human decency’: Truckers’ union calls on gas stations, rest stops to fully re-open

Teamsters Canada wants feds, provinces to put pressure on facilities to re-open for transport workers

B.C. unveils $3.5M COVID-19 emergency fund for post-secondary students

Money will help students cover living expenses, food, travel, portable computers

North Cowichan to police popular trails to ensure physical distancing

“You can expect delays accessing Mount Tzouhalem, or even to be turned away.”

Most Read