Assisted Dying in Canada During 2022: A Worrying Trend

Please find the full report available as a PDF here.

Canada’s long awaited Medical Assistant in Dying (MAiD) report for 2022 has just been published.

2022 saw a total of 13,241 assisted deaths in Canada, a 31.2% increase on 2021’s figure. This equated to 4.1% of all deaths in Canada.

51.4% of MAiD users were male, and 48.6% were female. The average age was 77 and cancer was most common underlying condition for MAiD users, comprising 63% of cases. However, some 3.5% of MAiD users (463) did not have reasonably foreseeable deaths.

The report states that: “in 2022, MAID practitioners reported that the majority of MAID recipients (77.6%) had received palliative care, a level similar to the three previous years. Of those who received palliative care, 49.9% received it for a month or more, similar to the level reported in 2021. Of the MAID recipients who did not receive palliative care (19.6%), 87.5% had access to these services”.

However, when we examine the figures in more detail, we can see that only 22.8% of MAiD users in 2022 had a consultation with a palliative care specialist. In other words, some 77.2% of MAiD users did not consult with a palliative care specialist before opting for an assisted death.

Of the 13,241 MAiD deaths in 2022, fewer than 7 resulted from self-administration.

In 2022, the most commonly cited sources of suffering by individuals requesting MAID were the loss of ability to engage in meaningful activities (86.3%), followed by loss of ability to perform activities of daily living (81.9%) and inadequate control of pain, or concern about controlling pain (59.2%). Some 35.3% said they felt like a burden on their families, friends or caregivers. 17.1% cited loneliness.

The total number of unique practitioners providing MAID during 2022 was 1,837, up 19.1% from 1,542 in 2021. 95.0% of all MAID practitioners were physicians, while 5.0% were nurse practitioners