Euthanasia (MAiD) deaths continue to increase in Canada. Stop the expansion of euthanasia by Bill C-7.

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Ontario Office of the Chief Coroner released new MAiD data (reported euthanasia and assisted suicide deaths). In Ontario from June 17, 2016 to December 31, 2020, there were 6,696 reported assisted deaths.

The 6,696 reported assisted deaths since legalization represented 6694 euthanasia deaths and 2 assisted suicide deaths.

In 2020, there were 2,378 reported assisted deaths in Ontario with 1,127 from January 1 – June 30 and 1,260 from July 1 – December 31. 

The number of assisted deaths continues to increase. In Ontario there were 2,378 reported assisted deaths in 2020, 1,789 in 2019, 1499 in 2018, 841 in 2017, and 189 in 2016.

On October 20, I published an article explaining that there were approximately 19,000 euthanasia deaths in Canada since legalization. By December 31, Ontario had done 637 more euthanasia deaths. It is likely that there has now been 21,000 euthanasia deaths since legalization. The data does not include the under-reporting of euthanasia as was uncovered in Quebec and likely occurs across Canada.

On February 24, Canada’s federal government introduced Bill C-7 to expand the euthanasia law. Bill C-7 was passed in the House of Commons in early December and will be debated in Canada’s Senate in February.

What does Bill C-7 do?

1. Bill C-7 removes the requirement in the law that a person’s natural death be “reasonably foreseeable” in order to qualify for assisted death. Therefore, people who are not terminally ill can die by euthanasia. The Quebec court decision only required this amendment to the law, but Bill C-7 went further.

2. Bill C-7 permits a doctor or nurse practitioner to lethally inject a person who is incapable of consenting, if that person was previously approved for assisted death. This contravenes the Supreme Court of Canada Carter decision which stated that only competent people could die by euthanasia.

3. Bill C-7 waives the ten-day waiting period if a person’s natural death is deemed to be reasonably foreseeable. Thus a person could request death by euthanasia on a “bad day” and die the same day. Studies prove that the “will to live” fluctuates.

4. Bill C-7 creates a two-track law. A person whose natural death is deemed to be reasonably foreseeable has no waiting period while a person whose natural death is not deemed to be reasonably foreseeable would have a 90 day waiting period before being killed by lethal injection.

5. Bill C-7 falsely claims to prevent euthanasia for people with mental illness. The euthanasia law permits MAiD for people who are physically or psychologically suffering that is intolerable to the person and that cannot be relieved in a way that the person considers acceptable. However, mental illness, which is not defined in the law, is considered a form of psychological suffering. 

Bill C-7 also goes much further than the Quebec Superior Court Truchon decision. 

Canada’s Justice Minister, David Lametti, announced on November 24 that, once Bill C-7 is passed, he wants to expand euthanasia to people with mental illness alone.

The Canadian government must reject Bill C-7 and begin the promised 5-year review of the euthanasia law with an open view to what is actually happening rather than continuing to expand euthanasia, making Canada the most permissive euthanasia regime in the world.

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