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

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

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

Alberta Health reported two new COVID-19 deaths in Red Deer Friday. (Image courtesy CDC)
Two more deaths linked to Olymel outbreak in Red Deer

Province reported 356 additional COVID-19 cases Friday

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

Annual spending on debt interest is closing in on $3 billion

The Town of Sylvan Lake has launched a new contest to attract a new business. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Sylvan Lake offering rent-free storefront space to lure new businesses

Winning business proposal will get a storefront space rent-free for a year

Alberta reported an additional 399 cases of COVID-19 Thursday, on 9,217 tests, for a test positivity rate of 4.3 per cent. (Image courtesy CDC)
Red Deer down to 562 active COVID-19 cases

8 new COVID-19 deaths, 399 additional COVID-19 cases

A helicopter flies past a mountain near McBride, B.C., on Saturday January 30, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Avalanche warning for backcountry users in North and South Rockies

Avalanche Canada is urging backcountry users to always check their regional avalanche forecasts

Supporters pray outside court in Stony Plain, Alta., on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, as a trial date was set for Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church. He is charged with holding Sunday services in violation of Alberta’s COVID-19 rules and with breaking conditions of his bail release. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Trial date for jailed Alberta pastor charged with breaking COVID-19 health orders

The court says it will reconvene with lawyers on March 5 for a case management plan by teleconference

A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The country joins more than a dozen others in giving the shot the green light

Emily Keeping of Wetaskiwin, Alta., was last seen at 4:20 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin. Supplied/ Wetaskiwin RCMP.
UPDATE: Wetaskiwin RCMP seek assistance in locating missing 11-year-old

Emily Keeping was last seen on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin.

Alberta premier Jason Kenney, right and Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, provide details about Bill 13, the Alberta Senate Election Act., in Edmonton Alta, on Wednesday June 26, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Minister Doug Schweitzer talks on Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit

Provincial government rolling out new benefit this April to better help small businesses.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

Minister Rick Wilson poses with Katie at the Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin, both wearing her Pink Shirt Day design. Facebook/ Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin.
Wetaskiwin Boys and Girls club Pink Shirt day design focuses on kindness

Katie with the Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin created this year’s Pink Shirt Day design.

Most Read