Huge surge in Quebecers availing of ‘assisted dying’

Quebec is on track to finish the year with seven per cent of all deaths taking place via euthanasia and assisted suicide.

“That’s more than anywhere else in the world,” says Dr. Michel Bureau, the head of the independent body that monitors the practice in the province.

4.5 times more than Switzerland, three times more than Belgium, more than the Netherlands. It’s two times more than Ontario.”

As the frequency of assisted suicide continues to rise in Quebec, he says he worries ‘doctor-assisted deaths’ are no longer being seen as a last resort.

“We’re now no longer dealing with an exceptional treatment, but a treatment that is very frequent,” said Bureau, head of Commission sur les soins de fin de vie, which reports to the legislature.

Earlier this month, Bureau’s commission sent a memo to doctors reminding them that only patients who have a serious and incurable disease, who are suffering and who have experienced irreversible decline in their condition can receive MAID. The memo reminded doctors that the procedure must be independently approved by two physicians, and that doctors shouldn’t “shop” for a favourable second opinion.