Euthanasia in Canada – Fourth Interim Report

Health Canada released its Fourth Interim Report on Medical Assistance in Dying.

Medical assistance in dying refers to euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Total number of euthanasia deaths from December 10, 2015 to October 31, 2018 including available data for Quebec: 6,749. 

This number is less than the actual number due to the fact that data for the province of Quebec is only available until March 31, 2018.

Approximately 7 months of Quebec data is missing because the Commission responsible for euthanasia statistics in the province changed its last reporting period. It does not include as well data for the Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories because of small numbers and privacy concerns.

The number of euthanasia deaths in Canada for the period of January 1, 2018 to October 31, 2018, excluding Quebec, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut: 2,614. 

Total number of euthanasia deaths in Quebec from December 10, 2015 to March 31, 2018: 1,664.


 For the period of January 1, 2018 to October 31, 2018: 2,613 deaths out of 2,614 were done by euthanasia where the clinician  administers a lethal injection.

2,421 of these injections were done by physicians and 193 were administered by nurse practitioners. Only 1 death was by assisted suicide where the patient is given a lethal dose of drugs which must be self-administered. Quebec’s law permits only euthanasia with    physicians providing the lethal injection.

44% of deaths occurred in hospital while 42% occurred in the patient’s home. 5% took place in a long term care facility or nursing home. 4% were done in a location listed as Other or Unknown. According to Health Canada’s report,  “Other may include: retirement homes; assisted or supportive living;ambulatory setting; day program space; clinician’s office; funeral home; hotel/motel; hospices; outdoor public areas or, undisclosed.” 

We are told that the percentage of euthanasia deaths has “increased only slightly since the last reporting period.”

If we estimate the number of euthanasia deaths for the year 2018 to be over 3,000 for all of Canada, this means approximately:
250 deaths a month
60 a week
8 per day

Action Life believes that euthanasia is not the solution nor is it healthcare. We are concerned that palliative care is available to only 30% of Canadians who need it.






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Censoring pro-life voices

City councillors Jeff Leiper, Shawn Menard and Catherine McKenney have demanded that the city remove Action Life’s advertisements from OC Transpo buses. They have made allegations that our advertisement is misleading because we are not a pregnancy counselling agency and direct women to a helpline number. We respond that it is not misleading in any way.

Action Life Ottawa is an educational pro-life organization founded in 1971. We have never presented ourselves as a pregnancy support centre or counselling service. For this very reason, we do not direct individuals who need pregnancy support to our office number – instead we direct them to a number that can address those needs.  The helpline number shown in our advertisement is one that we have used for many years in various materials and advertisements. This national helpline number originates from the Crisis Pregnancy Centre of Winnipeg and is answered 24 hours a day. The Crisis Pregnancy Centre of Winnipeg has a list of 70 centres where women can get help.

Action Life wants to inform women that pregnancy support centres exist in Canada. We believe that women have a right to this information. And we direct them where to find it.

Our website provides a listing of local help agencies as well as the national helpline number.

Our advertisement is neither misleading nor inaccurate. It does not contravene any law or advertising standards. Help is available at the number shown in our advertisement.

We have used this helpline number in three previous OC Transpo bus campaigns beginning in 2016. The first campaign drew some media attention, complaints from abortion advocates and support from others in the city.

The same helpline number was listed on a sidewalk kiosk advertisement on Bank street from 1994 to 2007 for a full twelve months of every year.

Any woman who feels vulnerable under any circumstance should know there is help available. Members of city council should support the right of all women to have access to every support system available to them.

So members of city council should fully support the right of women to have access to this helpline number rather than attempting to have our advertisements removed from OC Transpo buses

The councillors sent an inquiry on April 10th to the General Manager of the Transportation Services Department. It says : “Advertisements for Action Life have recently been purchased on OC Transpo buses that invite pregnant women to ‘call for help’. It has been asserted that Action Life is not a pregnancy counselling agency. The Canadian Advertising Standards do not allow for misleading advertising. ” They then ask that “staff provide a current status of the law on such advertising, including any Charter arguments and explain what options and/or processes may be available to OC Transpo and the City with respect to any concerns raised by these ads.”

Here’s our ad. Our message reads: 1969-2019 : More than 4 million abortions in Canada.

Pregnant? Need help? Call 1-800-665-0570.

Our advertisement campaigns always garner opposition and support. Those who oppose our pro-life message often seek to have our advertisements removed from whatever media we use, be it radio, television, buses or bus shelters.

City councillors should not censor pro-life advertisements. A pattern has emerged where first, objections were raised to Campaign life’s March for Life flag flying atop city hall two years ago. Secondly, this year councillor Menard objected to a citizen having a seat on the city’s transit commission because of his pro-life views and now they want to remove our advertisements from city buses.

Any Canadian who respects freedom of speech should be concerned about these developments.

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UN disability envoy urges changes to Canada’s euthanasia law


by Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Catalina Devandas Aguilar, the UN’s Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities met with Canadian government officials and disability rights advocates from April 2 – 12, 2019 investigating Canada’s implementation of the United Nations rights of people with disabilities. (Link to the report).

In her report, Devandas Aguilar challenged the Canadian government concerning the implementation of its euthanasia law. Her report stated:

I am extremely concerned about the implementation of the legislation on medical assistance in dying from a disability perspective. I have been informed that there is no protocol in place to demonstrate that persons with disabilities have been provided with viable alternatives when eligible for assistive dying. I have further received worrisome claims about persons with disabilities in institutions being pressured to seek medical assistance in dying, and practitioners not formally reporting cases involving persons with disabilities. I urge the federal government to investigate these complaints and put into place adequate safeguards to ensure that persons with disabilities do not request assistive dying simply because of the absence of community-based alternatives and palliative care.

CTV news reported Devandas Aguilar as stating:

Among her chief concerns were reports of patients allegedly pressured to undergo medically assisted deaths, a lack of community care that forces patients into nursing homes, and how the court system fails people with disabilities.

Devandas Aguilar said she was “extremely concerned” about the implications of assisted dying legislation on people with disabilities after hearing multiple complaints.

“I urge the federal government to investigate these complaints and put into place adequate safeguards to ensure that persons with disabilities do not request assistive dying simply because of the absence of community-based alternatives and palliative care,”

This is important news that must not stop with this report. The fact is that Canada’s euthanasia law employs undefined language with no effective oversight.

The Canadian visit and the report by Devandas Aguilar opens the door to pushing back Canada’s euthanasia law

UN disability rights envoy demands protection for people with disabilities from euthanasia in Canada.

Republished with permission

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Our humanity doesn’t depend on where we live

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Abortion not needed to protect the life or health of women

Is abortion needed to protect the health of women?

Consider the following statements made by physicians:

“In more than 25 years of medical practice, I have come to learn that if a woman is healthy enough to become pregnant, she is healthy enough to complete the term –in spite of heart disease, liver disease, almost any disease. As far as I’m concerned there are no medical indications for terminating a pregnancy.” Dr. Hymie Gordon, Director of Medical Genetics, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, October 15, 1974.

In 1951, Dr. Roy Heffernan, then president of the American Medical Association and Dean of Tufts Medical School stated in a presentation to the American College of Surgeons:

“Anyone who performs a therapeutic abortion is either ignorant of modern methods of treating the complications of pregnancy or unwilling to take the time to use them.”

In a letter to the Health and Welfare Committee of the Parliament of Canada in 1968, Dr. Henry Fitzgibbon provided more evidence that induced abortion was not needed for medical reasons. Dr. Fitzgibbon was at the time an obstetrician and gynecologist. He was a member of the Canadian Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a Certified Specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada and a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Dr. Fitzgibbon wrote:

“As has been repeatedly pointed out at the hearings, there are no longer any valid reasons for the termination of pregnancy on medical grounds. The requests for abortion made to practising physicians are almost invariably on social grounds and as such are not covered by any of the suggested bills.”

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A voice for the voiceless

The 8th amendment in the Irish constitution protected the life of the unborn child.

The 8th amendment was repealed following a referendum vote in May 2018. Sadly, abortion is now legal in Ireland. The Life Institute is reminding its fellow citizens that the unborn child needs their support. No matter the vote, the unborn child is still a human being.

Following the results of the referendum, one Irish pro-life group Save the 8th said: “We did not lose in this referendum, the unborn child did. They lost the Constitution’s recognition of their right to life. Many of them will now die in Irish hospitals and in Irish surgeries. But we live to fight another day and to fight for both mother and child. We will never be deterred in that work.”

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Down Syndrome children and abortion

Genetic screening and abortion

Choice 42 tackles the question of genetic screening and abortion of unborn children with Down syndrome in their latest video. Estimates are that 70 to 90% of pregnancies with a diagnosis of Down syndrome end in abortion in western nations. The number depends on the country. An August 2017 CBSN “On Assignment” report found that in Iceland, only one or two babies with Down Syndrome are born annually due to increased prenatal screening. That’s almost 100%.

According to the Daily Mail (February 3rd 2018): “The arrival of a child with Down syndrome is an increasing rarity in Denmark. There were 80 born in 1999- but by 2016 the number had fallen to just 24.”

In France a diagnosis of Down syndrome for an unborn child results in abortion 77% of the time. In the United States, it’s about 67%. reported that “approximately 95% of babies diagnosed prenatally with Down syndrome are aborted in Australia.”

In the absence of reliable data for Canada, it’s reasonable to assume that the number falls somewhere in that range of 70 to 98%.

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Fatal Flaws

The documentary film Fatal Flaws produced by Dunn Media and the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) is available from our resource centre. We also purchased the brochure made expressly for the film. The brochure presents actual stories featured in the documentary. One such story is that of Candice, a young woman from Newfoundland living with disabilities.

According to a blog post by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition: “In September 2016 Candice went to the emergency room at Charles S. Curtis Memorial Hospital in St. Anthony after having seizures. Dr. Aaron Heroux told her she was very sick and likely to die soon. He offered her assisted suicide. The doctor also proposed assisted suicide for Candice to her mother Sheila Elson.

This offer was repeated despite both Candice and her mother making it clear that this was not an option Candice would consider.”

What happened to her while in hospital is recounted in the film and the brochure:

“Sheila (Candice’s mother): She got sick at home. We got the ambulance. When we got her to the hospital she was having seizures…she was admitted. The next day the doctor came in and talked to her. He then took me out in the hallway…and he asked me if I knew that assisted suicide was legal in Canada. I said no. And then he said he was all for it, and I said, “Well that was your choice”. I told him I wasn’t interested in anything to do with assisted suicide. He told me I was being selfish and he said he wanted to assist me in doing this and I said I’m not interested. Candice heard everything…

Candice and her mother during the interview (photo EPC)

Interviewer (to Candice): I remember they said (on the news story)), “Did you want to die?” What did you say?

Candice: I don’t want to go.

Sheila: Not once did she say to them, “I want to end my life.” The doctor came in the next day after he told me about assisted suicide, stuck his face down in Candice’s and said, “Do you know how sick you are?” When I got his eye contact we went out in the hallway and I told him, “Don’t you ever pull something like that again”

Candice’s heath had returned by the time she was interviewed but the experience had left its mark. Her mother comforted her by saying, It’s over. We just don’t want it to happen to anybody else, hey? We don’t want another family to go through this.”

The EPC provides us with good news concerning Candice: “More than twelve months later Candice has recovered well and her health was much improved. Candice hasn’t been having any seizures, is now able to feed herself, walk with assistance, use her iPad. She is more alert, energetic and communicative. She was able to “walk” down the aisle as a bridesmaid at her sister’s wedding in August 2017. She is doing what she loves most, painting and being with her family.”

Fatal Flaws looks at the consequences of legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide. You soon discover that it’s not about choice or autonomy. The video can be borrowed from our office free of charge. Brochures are available as well.

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Human rights begin in the womb

Image from precious Life Ireland

Human rights are for all human beings.

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Is abortion needed to save a woman’s life?

The claim has often been made by abortion advocates that legal abortion is needed to save the life of a woman who experiences life threatening complications in pregnancy. Writing on behalf of medical organizations which count more than 30,000 physicians, five physicians explain why “it is never necessary to intentionally kill a fetal human being to save a woman’s life.”

In an February 17th article in Public Discourse, the authors state: “There are rare circumstances in which a mother’s life is in jeopardy due to either pre-existing conditions or pregnancy complication. It is extremely rare for this to occur prior to the point of viability (currently 22 weeks after last menstrual period, 20 weeks after fertilization). After 20 weeks fertilization age, it is never necessary to intentionally kill the fetal human being in order to save a woman’s life.

In cases where the mother’s life actually is in danger in the latter half of pregnancy, there is not time for an abortion, because an abortion typically is a two to three-day process. Instead immediate delivery is needed in these situations, and can be done in a medically appropriate way (labor induction or C-section) by the woman’s own physician. We can, and do, save the life of the mother through delivery of an intact infant in a hospital where both the mother and her newborn can receive the care that they need. There is no medical reason to intentionally kill that fetal human being through an inhumane abortion procedure, e.g. dismembering a living human being capable of feeling pain, or saline induction which burns off the skin, or feticide with subsequent induction.”

Source: Harrison, Donna, M.D., Cretella, Michelle, M.D., Schirger, John, M.D., Stevens, David, M.D., Orient, Jane, M.D. It is never necessary to intentionally kill a fetal human being to save a woman’s life: In support of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. The Public Discourse, February 17th, 2019

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