Medical assistance in dying increasingly in demand in Canada

Medical assistance in dying increasingly in demand in Canada


More and more Canadians are using medical assistance in dying (MAID), the federal government's third annual report for 2021 has revealed. 

Data shows that 10,064 people died with dignity in the past year, a 32% increase from 2020. Thus, 3.3% of deaths in the year were assisted. This figure is increasing in some provinces such as Quebec (4.7%) and British Columbia (4.8).

“[The number of requests for MAID] has increased remarkably quickly,” said writes Trudo Lemmens, a law professor at the University of Toronto, who was a member of the Council of Canadian Academies' expert panel on medical assistance in dying, in an email to CTV News.

The latter also noted that some regions have reached the rates of Belgium and the Netherlands, where medical assistance in dying has been established for more than 20 years.

According to the report, 81% of applications were approved, 13% of applicants died before receiving MAID and 2% withdrew their application. According to Mr. Lemmes, there is a greater percentage of people who are denied their application elsewhere in the world.

“This may be an indication that the restrictions, in my opinion, the safeguards are more low here than in the most liberal euthanasia regimes,” he said.

For Dr. Jean Marmoreo, a family physician who offers MAID in Toronto, a refusal rate that is lower means that “the good cases are put forward”.

“We have a very good selection process from the start. So even before people make a formal request for assisted dying, they have a lot of information that was given to them by admission,” he told CTV News, noting that requesters know what the eligibility criteria are to be met.