Environics Research Group survey shows that public opinion is shifting against the legalization of euthanasia in Canada



November 8, 2010

For many years EPC has been analyzing Canadian survey results related to euthanasia and assisted suicide. The first major survey that the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition commissioned was part of an Environics group – National Omnibus survey in April 2001.

 The recent Environics group survey shows that the EPC strategy not only convinced MP’s to vote against legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada, but has also helped to shift public opinion against the legalization of euthanasia in Canada. (Bill C-384, which would have legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide was defeated by 228 to 59 on April 21, 2010). The survey on euthanasia was based on 2025 Canadians being questioned between September 15 – 22,

 The research indicates that Canadians are concerned that if euthanasia were legal that it would negatively affect vulnerable people and that support for legalizing euthanasia is dropping.

 The poll found that:

–        59% supported legalizing euthanasia, with only 22% strongly supporting. Last year, 61% supported legalizing euthanasia with only 25% strongly supporting. Support was highest in Quebec (69%) and lowest in Saskatchewan/Manitoba 49%. Since last year, support dropped in Quebec by (6%) and dropped in Montreal by (15%).

–        63% were concerned that elderly people would feel pressured to accept euthanasia to reduce health care costs. Last year, 56% shared the same concern. Concern that elderly people would feel pressured was highest in Quebec (75%).

–        78% were concerned that a significant number of people who are sick, disabled or elderly would be euthanized without their consent. Last year, 70% shared the same concern. Once again, it is interesting that the highest concern is in Quebec (81%).

–        71% believe that the government needs to place a greater priority on improving palliative care rather than legalizing euthanasia. Last year, 69% held this view. In Quebec (60%) wanted the government to improve palliative care rather than legalize euthanasia.

–        Sadly, 45% supported euthanizing terminally ill or severely disabled infants, such as occurs in the Netherlands under the procedure of the Groningen Protocol. Fortunately only 15% of those surveyed strongly supported this type of eugenic euthanasia.

 In conclusion:

– Support for the legalization of euthanasia has fallen in all regions of Canada since last year.

– Canadians are more concerned that people will feel pressured to accept euthanasia in order to reduce health care costs.

– Canadians are more concerned, that if euthanasia were legal, a significant number of people would be euthanized without consent. This is a well-founded concern. A study that was published in the CMAJ (May, 2010) found that 32% of euthanasia deaths in the Flanders region of Belgium were done without explicit request or consent.

– The most important finding is that there is a growing trend that Canadians, in all regions, want the government to improve end-of-life care, rather than legalize euthanasia. In Quebec, where the government is attempting to find a consensus to legalize euthanasia through the back-door, (60%) preferred improving end-of-life care, rather than legalizing euthanasia.


Contact Alex at the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition: 1-877-439-3348 or [email protected]

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