NRL News

How many people have died by euthanasia in Canada?

by | Sep 9, 2016

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

euthanasianotanswer9A recent CBC news report indicates that more than 120 Canadians have died an assisted death since June 2016 when Canadian doctors gained the legal right to lethally inject their patients. (Reporter Catherine Cullen describes this as having “helped hasten the deaths.”)

But according to Cullen they could not determine how many euthanasia deaths have actually occurred and there may be no way of knowing.

The actual number of deaths is probably significantly higher because several provinces could not, or would not, provide complete data. Quebec, which was the first province to adopt a law on doctor-assisted death, provided no data whatsoever.

According to Cullen there were: 49 assisted deaths in Ontario, 46 assisted deaths in British Columbia, 15 assisted deaths in Alberta, 8 assisted deaths in Manitoba, fewer than five assisted deaths in Saskatchewan but New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the Yukon Territory refused to respond to CBC while Québec didn’t provide data.

There were no assisted deaths in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nunavut, North West Territory and Prince Edward Island.

How accurate are the numbers in the CBC news report?

According to Paul Schliesmann, in a recent article in the Kingston Whig-Standard titled “Another form of Care

Kingston General Hospital has been carrying out assisted death requests since the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the ban on the procedure effective June 6.

However, officials at KGH are not releasing any numbers in order to protect the identities of patients and their families.

“We’ve done a small number of them,” confirmed KGH chief of staff Dr. David Zelt.

The article points out that euthanasia is not always done in the hospital.

“This is not necessarily a hospital treatment,” said Zelt. “It can be done in the community and in hospitals as well. People do not have to come to the hospital to do this.”

CBC news reported that they were unable to obtain data from Québec. But Amy Hasbrouck, the director of the disability rights group Toujours Vivant – Not Dead Yet, reported in July there were 166 euthanasia deaths in Québec from December 2015 to June 2016.

It appears that nobody knows how many people have died by lethal injection since Canada permitted euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Categories: Canada Euthanasia