Medically assisted deaths could increase by 1,200 in 2021 under revised law: PBO

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OTTAWA — A new report by the parliamentary budget office suggests that expanding access to medical assistance in dying would lead to nearly 1,200 more aided deaths next year.

The government’s bid to expand eligibility for assisted death is contained in Bill C-7, which is before the House of Commons, and a senator had asked budget officer Yves Giroux to estimate the cost impact.

The budget office estimates the legislation would mean an additional 1,164 medically assisted deaths in Canada in 2021, on top of the 6,465 deaths expected under the current regime.

Provincial health budgets would see a savings of $149 million next year if the numbers hold true, largely from declines in spending on end-of-life care.

The budget office says the figure amounts to 0.08 per cent of the $187.4 billion provinces are expected to spend on health care next year.

The report this morning comes with a number of caveats, including that the COVID-19 pandemic may affect the number of people who need a medically assisted death.