MAID Deaths on the Rise in Canada

Assisted suicide has been legal since June 2016 (December 2015 in Quebec), and the numbers of patients requesting and receiving assisted suicide are on the rise.

According to CBC, from June 17, 2016 to January 10, 2017, BC has reported 188 deaths from medical assistance in dying, with 77 of those patients residents of Vancouver Island, which itself has a population of only 760,000 and accounted for 2 percent of all deaths on the Island for that period.

Alberta posts weekly data regarding medical assistance in dying, and from February 6, 2016 (when MAID was accessible via court order) and April 10, 2017, 109 patients died from MAID. Data updated to February 28, 2017 reveal that 64 people have not met the criteria, 22 patients have had some sort of transfer to facilitate death, and the age of patients dying ranges between 63 and 88.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority reports that as of January 6, 2017, 24 patients have died from MAID in Manitoba, with 28 dying before completing the process, 14 actively being assessed, 18 declined (of whom 5 had solely mental health concerns) and 18 inquiries.

In Ontario, as of March 30, 2017, MAID has claimed the lives of 365 patients.

Quebec outpaces the rest of Canada with 461 patients dying from MAID. From December 2015 to June 2016, 166 patients died, and between June 2016 and December 2016, 295 patients died. This accounts for slightly more than half of the 721 requests for MAID by Quebec patients. Quebec’s law came into effect on December 10, 2015, which accounts for the higher number of deaths.

Not surprisingly, the numbers from the eastern provinces are much lower. As of October 16, 2016, the Nova Scotia Health Authority reported 16 deaths from MAID.  New Brunswick has approved 9 MAID requests, Newfoundland and Labrador have performed 4 assisted suicides, but neither PEI, the Northwest Territories nor Nunavut have performed any assisted suicides. In the Yukon, reports suggest one patient has died from MAID.

In total, it has been reported that 1,324 people have died by MAID in Canada within the first year of its legalization. By comparison, in Belgium, it was reported that 24 people died by euthanasia the first year the practice was legal.