Deaths by euthanasia and assisted suicide have risen for the sixth year in a row, the Canadian Government has reported.
In 2022, under the country’s so-called Medical Assistance in Dying regime (MAID), doctors have directly killed or assisted the suicide of 13,241 people – up nearly a third on the previous year.
Since it was first legalised in 2016, MAID has resulted in the deaths of 44,958 Canadians, with the number of those killed through the scheme rising by more 350 per cent between 2017 and 2022.
The Government report stated: “The annual growth rate in MAID provisions has been steady over the past six years, with an average growth rate of 31.1% from 2019 to 2022.”
Euthanasia deaths up more than 350%, 2017-2022, 1 in 25 of all deaths
More than 35 per cent of those who requested help to end their lives cited fear of being a “burden on family, friends or caregivers” as a reason for doing so.
But in 2022, 298 people withdrew their request to die by euthanasia or assisted suicide – 76 per cent of individuals “indicated that they had changed their minds”, and 42 per cent “cited that palliative care measures were sufficient”.
Deaths by euthanasia and assisted suicide now account for 1 in every 25 deaths in Canada.
Poverty and mental illness
Earlier this year, an academic paper argued that being poor should be deemed a sufficient reason for people to be allowed to undergo euthanasia.
In 2022, 298 people withdrew their request to die
In an article published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, Canadian bioethicists Professor Amy Mullin and Kayla Wiebe from the University of Toronto said euthanasia “should be available” for people “in unjust social circumstances”.
Next year, Canada intends to extend euthanasia and assisted suicide to those whose sole medical condition is a mental illness.