Strong majority favour assisted dying ruling

| Filed under: National, Social Issues

Strong majority favour assisted dying ruling

More than half would consider for themselves

TORONTO February 18th, 2016 - In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 1406 Canadian voters, as many as 7-in-10 approve of the Supreme Court ruling making assisted dying legal (70%), while fewer than one fifth do not approve (19%). One tenth have no opinion (11%). Approval of assisted dying is common to the youngest (75%), males (72%) rather than females (68%), among the wealthiest (82%), in Quebec (80%) but not so much in Alberta ((59%) and among New Democrats (82%). Disapproval is characteristic of the oldest (25%), females (22%), in Alberta (26%) and among Conservatives (30%).This level of approval is similar to that noted in previous polls before the Supreme Court ruled on assisted dying.

One half see assisted dying restricted to those with debilitating illness

When asked in what circumstances assisted dying should be allowed, close to 3-in-10 say in the case of terminal illness or imminent death only (28%), while a further one tenth would extend that to intolerable pain that can’t be relieved (10%). A further percentage would include loss of cognitive function, like Alzheimer’s or dementia (5%), and a smaller group would also include a chronic or debilitating illness (3%), for a total of close to one half who would consider these the minimum conditions for assisted death (46%). Meanwhile, close to 3-in-10 suggest that assisted death be available for anyone who wants it (28%), while one tenth will not take a position because of their opposition to the whole notion of assistance in dying (12%). One seventh don’t share an opinion (14%).

More than half would consider assisted dying for themselves

Close to 6-in-10 Canadian adults will consider assisted dying for themselves (57%), while just one quarter would not (26%). Close to one fifth (14%) don’t have an answer (13%) or prefer not to offer an opinion (4%). Considering assisted death is common to the mid aged (45 to 54 - 61%), the wealthiest (65%), in Quebec (67%) and among the least educated (62%). Those who would not consider assisted death for themselves are most likely to be the youngest (29%), the least wealthy (a proxy for youth - 35%), in the prairies (33%), among Conservative voters (35%) and among those with some college or university (33%).

“This is one of the rare issues we poll that doesn’t necessarily split along regional or ideological lines. While those in the west and Conservatives are slightly less likely to favour the idea of assisted dying, the larger differences split along age lines. Assisted dying is almost universally popular, and has been since we started polling the issue several years ago,” said Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.

Lorne Bozinoff, Ph.D. is the president and founder of Forum Research. He can be reached at or at (416) 960-9603.