Toronto, ON – With the Canadian Senate passing Bill C-14 and royal
assent enshrining medically-assisted dying into law, a new Ipsos poll conducted for Global
News has found that while Canadians agree with the broad principle of the bill, they’re not on
side with some of its details.
On principle, access to medically-assisted dying is not contentious for the vast majority of
Canadians: most (86%) believe that ‘there are circumstances when a terminally–ill person
should be allowed to seek professional medical assistance to help them die’. Conversely, a
small minority (14%) more closely believes that ‘people who are terminally ill should never be
allowed to seek professional medical assistance to help them die’. Support is strong across
Canada, as high as 91% in Quebec and lowest in Saskatchewan and Manitoba (74%).
Despite a brief attempt by the Senate to include an amendment to broaden access to
medically-assisted dying by removing the criteria of “reasonably foreseeable” death, two in
three (65%) Canadians ‘agree’ (30% strongly/35% somewhat) with the wording of the final bill,
believing that ‘only people whose natural death is reasonable foreseeable should have
access to a medically-assisted death’, while one in three (35%) ‘disagree’ (17% strongly/17%
somewhat) that access should be restricted in this manner. Once again, a majority of
Canadians in every region of the country agrees.
On other points, however, Canadians are not totally aligned with the law that Parliament
When it comes to access to medically-assisted dying for mentally ill patients, a majority
(61%) ‘agrees’ (25% strongly/36% somewhat) that ‘people with mental illness and physical
illness should be treated the same’, effectively believing that access should be equal
regardless of whether the medical condition is mental or physical. Agreement is highest in
Quebec (71%), followed by those living in BC (66%), Atlantic Canada (62%), Alberta (59%),
Saskatchewan and Manitoba (57%) and Ontario (54%), where opinion is more evenly divided.
Another issue that drew a lot of debate was the notion of advance consent – the idea that
someone could leave explicit legal instructions for their medically-assisted death in the event
they become incapacitated but unable to communicate when the time comes. However, the
issue doesn’t appear to be all that controversial to Canadians: a strong majority (85%) of
Canadians ‘approve’ (49% strongly/36% somewhat) of ‘allowing medically-assisted death for
those who have signed advance consent, and are no longer able to communicate their
wishes’. Just 15% ‘disapprove’ (6% strongly/9% somewhat) of the concept. Approval is
highest in Quebec (89%) and lowest in Saskatchewan and Manitoba (69%), where two in
three still support the concept of advance consent despite lacking the ability to communicate
Additional information including findings and methodology is available for
download on the right side of the page.
For more information on this news release please contact:
Ipsos Public Affairs
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