For immediate release from The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
Only half of Canadians (51%) are aware that Canadians will be eligible for Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) on the basis of mental illness in March 2024, according to a new Angus Reid Forum poll undertaken for The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.
“What we can clearly see is that many of our neighbours aren’t aware of some of the major changes happening in our country,” says EFC President David Guretzki. “This alone should cause concern as our country moves ahead with such a rapid expansion of euthanasia.”
It is notable that respondents identified safeguards that should be in place if MAiD is expanded on the basis of mental illness, to ensure those with mental illness are not induced to end their lives.
Significantly, only 3% of Canadians said that “individuals with mental illness as their only underlying medical condition do not need any additional safeguards” to ensure that those with mental illness were not induced to end their lives through MAiD.
The majority of Canadians (61%) believe that if MAiD is expanded on the basis of mental illness, the safeguard should be in place that “MAiD should be a last resort after all other reasonable treatment options have been exhausted.” Support for this safeguard jumps to 69% among young adults.
“Support for the safeguard that MAiD for mental illness would be a last resort after all reasonable treatment options have been exhausted is a remarkable contrast to the current law, which only requires that someone who requests MAiD be informed of available treatment options,” says Rick Hiemstra, director of the EFC’s Ottawa-based Centre for Research on Church and Faith.
“What’s more, the expansion of MAiD on the basis of mental illness comes at a time when too many Canadians can’t access or afford the mental health care they need, when they need it.”
The Angus Reid Group conducted an online survey from September 20 to October 2, 2023, among a representative randomized sample of 2,007 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Another 363 Canadians who are evangelical affiliates and members of the Forum were also surveyed as a population booster. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.
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