New stats on euthanasia from Ontario a red flag

The latest statistics on euthanasia from the Canadian province of Ontario covering euthanasia deaths to 30 September 2019 has just been released.

This report should raise a red flag for other jurisdictions considering legalising euthanasia.


There were 519 deaths by euthanasia in Ontario from July-September 2019. This means that in that quarter more than one in fifty (2.03%) of all deaths in Ontario were from euthanasia.

If this rate applied in Western Australia, for example, it would mean around 300 deaths per year by euthanasia.

There was only one case of assisted suicide compared to 3821 cases of euthanasia (total statistics for Ontario since legalisation) equivalent to 0.02% of cases.

This confirms that were both are offered euthanasia is chosen in the vast majority of cases. It also seems that a higher overall rate is likely if we compared the 2% in Ontario after just 3 years of euthanasia being legalised compared to 0.44% of all deaths (18 years and older) in Oregon where assisted suicide has been legal for over 21 years.

No specialist is required under Canadian law: Although 63% of cases were cancer cases only 2% of cases involved an oncologist. 70% of cases involved family medicine or general practitioners.

In nearly one in four cases (24%) the 10 days cooling off period between a first request for euthanasia and the lethal injection being given was waived. In 13% of cases (total = 535) the person was NOT imminently dying and the only justification for rushing the process was a claimed "imminent loss of capacity". One has to wonder how clear the person's decision making capacity could be if its loss was so imminent and when any assessments are done within a day or so of a first request.

This is the first report that mentions organ donation reporting a total of 30 cases of organ donation following euthanasia. This process involves organ removal within minutes for cardiac arrest following the lethal injection.


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