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Only 11% of Canadians think physician-assisted suicide should not be allowed under any circumstances.

Vancouver, BC – Most Canadians are in favour of enacting physician-assisted suicide legislation that matches this year’s Supreme Court ruling, a new Canada-wide Insights West poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, four-in-five Canadians (79%) either “strongly” or “moderately” support allowing physician-assisted suicide in Canada if two conditions are met. Only 15% either “strongly” or “moderately” oppose this move.

In February, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that a law that makes it illegal for anyone to help a person die should be amended to allow physicians to provide assistance if two conditions are met:

1) If the request is made by a competent adult person who clearly consents to the termination of life.

2) If the person has a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition.

The Supreme Court gave federal and provincial governments 12 months to craft legislation to respond to its ruling.

Support for allowing physician-assisted suicide in the country, while meeting the two Supreme Court guidelines, is highest in British Columbia (90%) and among Canadians aged 55 and over (87%).

“The debate on physician-assisted suicide has continued after the Supreme Court’s ruling,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “However, the two guidelines seem to have put Canadians at ease when it comes to the extent and effect of any future legislation.”

Across the country, 11% of Canadians think physician-assisted suicide should never be allowed, regardless of who requests it—a proportion that rises to 16% in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and 15% in Ontario. Conversely, seven-in-ten Canadians (69%) would allow physician-assisted suicide, but only under specific circumstances.

When asked about the regulations that are currently in place in Canada to deal with the issue of physician-assisted suicide, only 30% of Canadians are “satisfied” while 43% claim to be “dissatisfied” and 27% are not sure.

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from November 21 to November 25, 2015, among a representative sample of 1,035 Canadian adults. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points. Click here to view the detailed data tabulations.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West


Photograph: shankar s.