On 6 October 2017, a “second interim report on medically assisted dying” was published by the Canadian Health Minister. Between June 2016, the date on which medically assisted dying was authorised, and 30 June 2017, “1,982 individuals have had access to this provision”. Most of the patients were “suffering from cancer”.
Across Canada, no fewer than 1,179 medically assisted deaths were recorded over a 6-month period from 1 January to 30 June 2017. According to the report, this is an increase of “46.8% compared to the first six months following implementation of this legislation”, i.e. “approximately 0.9% of all deaths at national level” with”63%” of the deaths being associated with cancer as the underlying medical condition.
However the number of deaths “could be even higher”. Figures should soon be published by the Quebec Commission on End-of-Life Care and these will be included in the report.
Canada’s Health Minister has ensured the continued publication “of interim reports on medically assisted dying using available data until the Government finalises legislation in favour of a permanent monitoring system”, which is expected in 2018.
For further reading:
Newswire.ca (06/10/2017) ; Le Devoir, Melanie Marquis (07/10/2017)