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

Four ride hailing applications rejected by Transportation Safety Board in Okanagan

Decision means Kabu Ride is still only company to be approved for ride hailing in region

Multi-vehicle collision creates congestion along Harvey Ave in Kelowna

Accident occurred at approximately 4:50 p.m on Friday

Tess Critchlow: Local snowboarder represents Big White on the national stage

She competed in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in South Korea in 2018

GoFundMe launched to help Kelowna girl who battles mysterious migraines

Greta Friesen has been battling reoccurring migraines for last three and a half years

Tamara McLellan: Creating the next generation of female entrepreneurs

She is the executive director of Her International

It’s Treat Week at Kelowna’s BC SPCA branch

Get some treats and meet some furry friends

Toddler killed in Squamish grocery store parking lot

Child’s mother taken to hospital but her condition is not known

Developer of RV resort west of Revelstoke ordered to stop selling lots

The Superintendent of Real Estate has serious concerns that buyers may not receive their purchase

North Okanagan prays for women of Zimbabwe

World Day of Prayer celebrated in 2,000 Canadian communities, one of 170 countries

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

Trans Canada east of Revelstoke to be closed overnight

The highway will reopen at 10 a.m. Feb. 29

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Local vocal talents sought for Okanagan stage

Okangan Singer-Songwriter Competition auditions underway

Most Read