A new poll suggests overwhelming support among Canadians for expanding access to medical assistance in dying. (Black Press Media files)

Strong support for expanding access to medically assisted dying: poll

The online survey of 3,500 Canadians was conducted by Ipsos from Jan. 21 to 27

A new poll suggests overwhelming support among Canadians for expanding access to medical assistance in dying.

The results of the Ipsos survey, conducted for Dying With Dignity Canada, come just as the federal government is preparing to amend the law to scrap its stipulation that only those who are already near death are entitled to receive medical help to end their lives.

A Quebec court struck down that restriction as unconstitutional and gave the government, which declined to appeal, until March 11 to amend the law.

The government conducted public consultations about the impending changes late last month with an online survey that, among other things, asked if new hurdles should be imposed to prevent abuse and protect vulnerable people from being pressured into ending their lives.

But the government’s survey also asked whether the law should be expanded to include allowing people who fear losing mental competence to make advance requests for an assisted death.

The online survey of 3,500 Canadians was conducted by Ipsos fro Jan. 21 to 27, a period that overlapped with the government’s own consultations.

Internet-based polls cannot be given a margin of error because they are not considered random samples.

Dying with Dignity Canada is a national non-profit advocacy group that champions end-of-life rights.

ALSO READ: Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Just over 70 per cent of respondents supported removing the requirement that a person’s natural death must be “reasonably foreseeable” in order to qualify for an assisted death — as the court has ordered and the government has committed to do.

Fully 82 per cent of respondents said people diagnosed with grievous and irremediable medical conditions, including dementia, should be allowed to make advance requests.

Seventy-five per cent supported allowing a person without a diagnosis of an irremediable medical condition to make an advance requests to be honoured when certain pre-stated conditions are met.

And 85 per cent said a person’s request for an assisted death should be respected in cases where the individual receives approval for the procedure but loses the mental capacity to give consent immediately prior to the procedure being carried out.

The survey suggests strong support across all regions, age groups, and political leanings for expanding access to medical assistance in dying.

Among respondents with chronic physical or mental conditions or disability, 84 per cent favoured allowing advance requests.

Among those who identified themselves as health professionals, 82 per cent supported advance requests for individuals diagnosed with capacity-eroding conditions, like dementia.

“Canadians do not want to endure unnecessary suffering,” James Cowan, chair of Dying With Dignity Canada’s board of directors, said in a statement.

“Across regions, among health care practitioners and among those who self-identified as having a chronic physical or mental condition or disability, there is support for change to the existing law on medical assistance in dying. In addition, there is a block of aging people in Canada, as well as their families, who are highly supportive of increased access to advance requests and the accompanying peace of mind.

“There is dignity in choice that Canadians want available to their parent, loved one, and themselves.”

Joan Bryden, 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

Creston’s Sunset Seed Company closes for good

“It’s time for me to retire, simply put,” said Tom Heal, who became the manager of the family business in 2005

Nine new COVID-19 cases announced in Interior Health region

The total number of cases since the pandemic started is now at 531 for the region

Terry Tiessen to run as Libertarian candidate in Nelson-Creston

Tiessen previously ran in the 2019 federal election

Nicole Charlwood to run for Green Party

Charlwood was previously the Greens local campaign manager

Creston Royal Legion re-opening on Oct.1

The building has undergone a number of different improvements during its six-month closure

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

B.C. food and beverage producers set record sales in 2019

Farmed salmon again leads international exports

Most Read