Report: Access to Palliative Care in Canada


“Executive summary

Canadians are living longer, but they are not always living better. For many people, living longer means a struggle with poor health caused by chronic conditions, degenerative diseases or cancer. Thanks to improved medical treatments, declines in health are now more gradual, but this can also draw out the process of dying. When this happens, palliative care can help to improve quality of life for people of all ages with life-limiting illnesses by relieving symptoms, enabling a peaceful and dignified death, and providing support to family through the dying and bereavement process.


As the population ages and Canadians become increasingly aware that death can be managed better, the need for palliative care is expected to rise. That makes it important to understand whether Canadians in need of palliative care and community supports are receiving these services. When the state of publicly funded palliative care in Canada is understood, health system planners can identify service gaps and develop strategies for improving care. This report is intended to help with that work, although it is limited by gaps in comparable information on access to palliative care in Canada.


This report aims to provide a better understanding of:

1.      How Canadians access palliative care in the community and other care settings;

2.      Whether Canadians have equitable access to palliative care;

3.      Whether the care provided is effective and appropriate;

4.      Whether clinicians are prepared to provide palliative care; and

5.      Whether patients and their families are involved in planning end-of-life care and are receiving the support they need.”


For the full report: