Canada’s data on Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) have been released, showing a 31.2% increase in deaths since 2021 through the state-funded euthanasia program.
In 2022, 13,241 , accounting for 4.1% of the total deaths in Canada.
Health Minister Mark Holland commented on the MAiD program in the report, which he was “proud to present.”
“[MAiD is] a complex and deeply personal issue,” he said, emphasizing that the federal government is “committed” to making sure laws surrounding the euthanasia program “reflect Canadians’ needs, protect those who may be vulnerable and support their autonomy and freedom of choice.”
“Our government continues to be actively involved in fostering collaboration with provinces and territories to ensure the safe and consistent delivery of MAiD,” he said.
Holland added the program was going to focus on indigenous people being able to access assistance in dying, offering “both indigenous-led and Health Canada-led engagement activities.”
“Health Canada has invested over $900,000 in indigenous organizations who are leading initiatives to gather and mobilize the voices, viewpoints and lived experiences of their community members on MAID,” he said.
Canadians paid $3.3 million in 2022 for Assessors and Practitioners (CAMAP) for an accredited MAID curriculum, and each year continue to pay $2.6 million “ongoing to ensure MAiD is implemented in a consistent and safe manner,” largely through data collection.
“Data collected under these amended regulations now includes, among other things, information related to race, indigenous identity and disability of those seeking MAiD,” he said.
172 of the individuals who were euthanized through the MAiD program were in the age range of 18 to 45, which Toronto lawyer Ryan O’Connor pointed out is the largest cohort in the study.
He said Health Canada neglected to mention how many of those deaths were teenagers and people in their early 20s.
“Health Canada doesn’t disclose how many of those patients were teenagers or in their early 20s, masking the data in a 17-year age cohort while other cohorts are either 4 or 9 years,” O’Conner said.
Trends also show more people with conditions “when death is not foreseeable” requested MAiD last year, as lawyer Daniel Freiheit (Lion Advocacy on Twitter (“X”) noted.
Freiheit posted a screenshot of the increase and noted there were some “disturbing trends — like requests for MAiD when death is not foreseeable.”
Health Canada listed 463 cases, or 3.5% of the total MAiD deaths in 2022 were when the person was not expected to die in the reasonably foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, medical writer Alexander Raikin drew attention to the categorical breakdown of what illnesses people who applied to MAiD struggled with.
The most prominent conditions, making up a category weighing in at 88.2%, were people with osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, fractures, vision/hearing loss, dysphagia or frequent falls.
“Turns out vision/hearing loss was always a qualifying condition for MAiD,” Raikin tweeted.
There were 16,104 written requests for euthanasia in 2022. Only 560 of them were deemed ineligible, with 2,144 dying before the procedure and 298 withdrawing their requests.
As of March 17, 2024 MAiD is set to expand its eligibility, making it more accessible to a wider range of people.
In the new legislation, people suffering from mental disorders, including drug addiction, will be able to qualify for assisted suicide in Canada.