Government of Canada releases Third Interim Report on Medical Assistance in Dying
Report provides update on the implementation of medically assisted dying in Canada
June 21, 2018 Ottawa, ON Health Canada
The release of information on medical assistance in dying helps Canadians understand how the legislation is being implemented across the country. The federal government recognizes that public reporting in this area is critical to ensuring transparency and fostering public trust in the legislation.
Today, the Government of Canada released the Third Interim Report on Medical Assistance in Dying. Between July 1 and December 31, 2017, there were 1,525 medically assisted deaths in Canada, representing a 29.3% increase over the last six-month reporting period. Medically assisted deaths accounted for approximately 1.07% of all deaths in Canada during this time period which is consistent with other international assisted dying regimes. Of these deaths, cancer was the most frequently cited underlying medical condition, present in approximately 65% of all medically assisted deaths.
Health Canada will continue to collaborate with provincial and territorial governments to provide interim reports on medical assistance in dying until the Government of Canada finalizes regulations to support a permanent federal monitoring and reporting system. The final regulations are expected to be in place by fall 2018.
As part of the process for finalizing these regulations, Health Canada today posted a summary report from the public consultation on the draft Regulations for the Monitoring of Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada. The feedback received through this consultation will inform the development of the final regulations.
“Our Government recognizes the importance of ongoing monitoring and reporting on medical assistance in dying in order to provide a national picture of how it is being implemented across Canada.”
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
The Third Interim Report on Medical Assistance in Dying notes that:
- The majority of Canadians who received assistance in dying were between 56 and 90 years old. The average age was 73 years old.
- There were more cases of medical assistance in dying in larger urban centres (55.9%) compared to areas with smaller populations (41.6%).
- In Canada, the setting for the provision of assisted dying continues to be divided primarily between hospitals (40.5%) and a patient’s home (43.3%), followed by other settings such as long-term care or assisted-living facilities.
- Medically assisted deaths are administered largely by physicians, with only British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario reporting that nurse practitioners in their jurisdictions have provided this service. Nurse practitioners provided medical assistance in dying in 5% of all cases reported during this period, representing a 45% increase since the last interim report.
Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
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