Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Surge in Medically Assisted Deaths Under Canada’s MAID Program Outpaces Every Other Country

By Masih Khalatbari, Investigative Journalism  Bureau and Robert Cribb, Staff Reporter. Original publication, Saturday, January  27, 2024

Dr. Sonu Gaind, [pictured right] head of the psychiatry department at Sunnybrook Hospital, said he is concerned about what the surge in medically assisted deaths & [what it] "says about our society.”

The number of Canadians ending their lives through medically assisted death has grown at a speed that outpaces every other nation in the world.

As Canada is poised to expand eligibility criteria under medical assistance in dying (MAID) legislation, data from all 11 countries where the controversial end-of-life treatment exists shows Canada is the fastest-growing adopter in history, an analysis by the Investigative Journalism Bureau and the Toronto Star has found.

Some experts see the rapid growth as a human rights triumph that allows Canadians to make their own choice about when they wish to die with the full support of the state and their doctors. Others fear that failures in the health-care system and social safety net may be contributing to the surge.

Assisted deaths accounted for four per cent of all deaths in Canada in 2022 — up from one per cent in 2017, the first full year the legislation was in place. The number of MAID deaths quadrupled during that time. In 2022, the total number hit 13,000 nationwide — a 31 per cent jump from the previous year.

In the past two years alone, more people have died under Canada's assisted death regime than in any other nation in the world, the IJB/Star analysis shows.

“We’ve gone in a trajectory that no other country on the planet has gone,” says Dr. Sonu Gaind, chief of psychiatry at Sunnybrook Hospital. “We don't know what the full impact is going to be.” ....