Webcast archive: Quebec euthanasia statistics

Today, we’re looking at the statistics of euthanasia deaths in 2016 in Quebec.

In this episode of Euthanasia & Disability, Amy Hasbrouck and Christian Debray discuss:

  • 461 people were euthanized in Québec in 2016

Please note that this text is only a script and that our webcast contains additional commentary.


  • Between December, 2015 and December 2016, 461 people were euthanized in Québec. The total number of requests during that time was 721.
  • During the second half of the year, the number of requests and euthanasias performed increased dramatically. The number of requests went up by 85% to 468, and the number of people who were euthanized rose from 166 in the first half of the year, to 295 in the second half.
  • Many institutions reported an increase of 200% or more in requests for euthanasia during the second half of the year.
  • This is a major departure from the expectation that euthanasia would be an “exceptional measure for exceptional cases” expressed by supporters when the law was passed.
  • One of the most troubling statistics to come out of the Radio Canada report published on Wednesday was the range of acceptance of requests for euthanasia across the province. The Centre for Integrated Health and Social Services of Estrie accepted 84% of requests, while the West Island University Integrated Health and Social Services Centre granted only 28.6% of requests.  That’s a huge difference.
  • Research will have to be done to determine why the acceptance rates vary so widely from one institution to another, but whether that research will be done remains to be seen.
  • Not Surprisingly, Dr. Alain Naud, a supporter of euthanasia, believes that the increase in demand means the program is meeting a need. However Mélanie Vachon of the Centre for research and intervention on suicide and euthanasia at the University of Québec at Montréal believes the increase to be a failure of the initial intentions of the law.
  • Many reasons have been suggested for the high numbers, but both Mélanie Vachon and Dr. Alain Naud were quoted as saying that the lack of access to effective palliative care may be playing a role.