2023 poll: Support for medically assisted dying in Canada

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This is a summary of the findings of a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Dying With Dignity Canada in June 2023 regarding support for medical assistance in dying (MAID) in Canada.   

A sample of 3,502 Canadians aged 18 years and over was interviewed on the Ipsos I-Say Panel from June 7 to 12, 2023. Weighting was employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects the overall population according to the latest census information.  


Following the Carter v. Canada case, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the federal prohibition on assisted dying in 2015. Medical assistance in dying (MAID) became recognized as a legal end-of-life option, and people across Canada whose deaths were reasonably foreseeable and met the eligibility criteria were granted the right to die with the help of a nurse practitioner or physician.  

In March of 2021, Bill C-7 – An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying) was signed into law, removing the criteria that a person’s natural death must be reasonably foreseeable to be eligible for MAID, among other changes. Bills C-14 and C-7 mandated a Parliamentary Review of MAID that included topics such as advance requests, mature minors, MAID for mental disorders, the state of palliative care, and the protection of people with disabilities.  

The final report from The Expert Panel on MAID and Mental Illness was released in May 2022 with a recommendation for the development of Practice Standards for MAID; these were released in March of 2023. The final report from the Special Joint Committee on MAID (AMAD): Choices for Canadians was released in February 2023. And finally, the Government of Canada’s response to the AMAD committee report was released in June 2023. 

Key findings 

Support for the Carter v. Canada decision remains strong at 84%. People over the age of 55 have strong support at 89%. Support among faith communities remains high, including 83% of Catholics and 79% of Protestants. Additionally, 79% people across Canada who identify as BIPOC support the decision.  

Seventy-eight per cent of people across Canada support the removal of the ‘reasonably foreseeable’ natural death requirement from MAID law. Seventy-eight per cent of people with a disability support this change, and among the BIPOC community, 73% support removing the requirement.  

An advance request for MAID would allow an individual – while they have capacity – to describe in writing a future state in which they would like to access MAID. Eighty-two per cent of people across Canada support an advance request for MAID for individuals diagnosed with a grievous and irremediable condition. Support for advance requests without a grievous and irremediable diagnosis remains high at 72%.

Eight in ten (83%) agree that once a person’s condition reaches the point that they meet the criteria they established in their advance request, and they meet the eligibility criteria for MAID, their wish to receive MAID should be complied with. 

Some publicly funded health care facilities in Canada refuse to allow or provide MAID on-site because of their religious affiliation. Three quarters (73%) of people across Canada believe that publicly funded health care facilities should be required to provide the full range of health care services, including MAID, if they have the proper equipment and staff to do so. Seventy-three per cent of those who identify as Catholic and 63% of Protestants also support this statement.  

In Canada, clinicians have a right to limit the health services they provide for reasons of conscience or religion – a conscientious objection. However, patients also have the right to access health care in a timely manner. Eight in ten (81%) people across Canada agree that a clinician should direct the patient to the assisted dying team in the local health authority to get more information and find out about the process for seeking an assessment in a timely manner from another clinician. Those who identify as Catholic or Protestant also support effective referrals – 82% and 77% respectively.  

In the same vein, 73% believe that clinicians must put patients’ primary interests ahead of their own morals and values. They must ensure that the legal, reasonable, and desired services (of a MAID assessment) are provided, if not by them, then, through an effective referral, by others. 

A strong majority (80%) of people across Canada agree that with the appropriate safeguards in place, an adult with the capacity to provide informed consent should be able to seek an assessment for medical assistance in dying, and if eligible, receive MAID, for a severe, treatment-resistant mental disorder for which they experience intolerable suffering. 

Data and a further breakdown of poll results

Dying With Dignity Canada is the national human-rights charity committed to improving quality of dying, protecting end-of-life rights, and helping Canadians avoid unwanted suffering. 

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