Canada: Euthanasia deaths increase by more than 50% in 2018

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Data for the Canadian euthanasia/assisted suicide (euphemistically known as Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD) has been missing. I have received multiple inquiries asking how many Canadians have died by MAiD. Now we have some data, but not from the government.

On March 15, 2019, Jocelyn Downie, Canada’s leading “academic” pro-euthanasia activist, spoke at a lunch lecture for the Royal Society of Canada in Ottawa. In her presentation, Downie stated that 7,949 people have reportedly died by MAiD in Canada through December 31, 2018.

Downie clearly has access to euthanasia data that is otherwise unavailable.

The Third Interim report on MAiD indicated there were 2,704 reported assisted deaths in 2017. In 2018, there were 4,235 assisted deaths.

Thus, based on Downie’s data, in 2018, the number of reported assisted deaths increased by more than 50% . Assisted deaths represented more than 1.5% of all deaths.

I refer to reported assisted deaths, because there have been 142 unaccounted assisted deaths in the province of Québec and approximately 23% of the assisted deaths in the Netherlands were not included in the official tally.

Last December Québec published euthanasia data indicating that 1, 664 people died by MAiD over the period from December 2015 to March 31, 2018. The data also indicated that there were 171 missing reports and 142 assisted deaths that were unaccounted.

What else did Downie say?

Downie stated that 99% of the assisted deaths are euthanasia—lethal injection—, 1% assisted suicide. 95% are done by physicians, 42% occur at home, and 41% occur in a hospital.

Downie stated that no ineligible persons died by MAiD. I guess that Downie didn’t read the Québec Interim report which stated that:

  • 3% (19 cases) did not comply with the eligibility criteria and safeguards, including:
  • 5 cases – Person did not have a “serious and incurable illness”;
  • 2 cases – The person was not at the end of life.

For more information read: Third report from Québec’s euthanasia commission – 142 unaccounted deaths.

According to the Downie data, there were 4,235 reported assisted deaths in 2018; 2,704 assisted deaths in 2017; and1,010 reported assisted deaths between December 2015 and December 31, 2016. Similar to the Netherlands and Belgium, nearly all of the assisted deaths are euthanasia (done by lethal injection) rather than assisted suicide.

Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.