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A majority of Canadians aren’t sold on the idea of granting assisted suicide to those who want it solely on the basis of suffering from mental illness, according to a recent Leger survey. 

Under the current rules, only Canadians who suffer from an incurable physical illness, disease or disability or are enduring intolerable pain are eligible to receive euthanasia from a medical professional.  

While the majority of Canadians, 77%, do support the regulations as they are, only 42% would like to see the program expanded to include people who are suffering exclusively from mental illness. 

The remaining respondents of the survey said they were divided between being opposed, at 28%, and another cohort of 30% saying they didn’t know. 

Health Minister Mark Holland tabled legislation to have people suffering from chronic and incurable mental illness included under the legislation’s purview beginning in March.

However, all provinces and territories asked the minister to pause the policy to make further consultations. 

Nearly half of respondents, 47%, supported pausing the policy, agreeing that the government should take the necessary time and measures it needs to ensure that the program’s expansion is done correctly. 

While 37% disagreed with the delay, saying that Canadians suffering from incurable mental illness have the same right to euthanasia as those who have already been deemed eligible. 

Respondents in Atlantic Canada and Quebec showed the strongest support for expanding the program, whereas Albertans responded with the strongest opposition to it.

“Two-thirds of Canadians (65%) believe that people suffering from an illness that can affect their cognitive ability should be able to make a request in advance for medical assistance in dying. This proportion is higher among Quebecers (77%) and people aged 55 and over (69%). Albertans are more likely to be against advance requests (22% versus 15% in Canada),” reads the survey. 

The legislation to delay remains before the House of Commons.

The survey was conducted last week and had 1,570 adult respondents. It cannot be assigned a margin of error as online polls are not considered to be true random samples of the public.