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.

Just Posted

Vancouver Island man warning others through video following cyber attack

Julian White had his online portfolio hacked less than two weeks ago.

Juno-nominated teen Vancouver Island singer to appear on ‘American Idol’

Lauren Spencer-Smith up for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year for ‘Unplugged, Vol. 1’

Painful Truth: Forestry no longer close to top of B.C.’s economy

When the forestry industry caught a cold in the 1970s, it was enough to sicken the entire economy

Island Inked magazine cover hopeful receiving strong local voting support

Chemainus Secondary grad and Ladysmith resident a strong contender for the top prize

Victoria to see extra ships after cruise company cancels Asia tour in wake of COVID-19

Coronovirus fears cause Celebrity Cruises to head west early

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Demonstrators plan to shut down Pat Bay Highway Wednesday afternoon

Protest is in support of Wet’suwet’en First Nation

Cat dies in Port Alberni house fire

Cause of the late night weekend fire is still undetermined

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Pink Shirt Day campaign urges Canadians to ‘Lift Each Other Up’

Annual anti-bullying effort returns Wednesday, Feb. 26

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Child in hospital following fatal crash that killed father, sibling on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

Most Read