Message from the Minister of Health, the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, and the Minister of Seniors on National Hospice Palliative Care Week


This week marks National Hospice Palliative Care Week in Canada, a time to raise awareness about how palliative care can alleviate suffering and improve quality of life for people living with a serious illness and their loved ones.

For someone diagnosed with a serious illness, palliative care can help manage symptoms and provide support regardless of the setting of care, their illness or where they live in the country. This year’s theme, “Palliative Care Everywhere,” highlights the importance of providing care wherever the person is, be it in hospital, hospice, long-term care or in their home.

This week is also a time to recognize the invaluable work and dedication of the network of people—physicians, nurses, personal support workers, social workers, counsellors, caregivers, and volunteers, who provide support to individuals with a serious illness and their families during one of the most difficult times of their lives.

People with serious illness or approaching the end of life deserve the best quality of care and support that we can offer. For this reason, our government collaborated with provinces, territories, health care providers and stakeholders, to develop a Framework and implement the Action Plan on Palliative Care.  

This Action Plan includes key commitments to raising awareness about palliative care and grief; improving palliative care skills and supports for health care providers and others; enhancing data and research; and improving access to culturally sensitive palliative care. As part of those efforts, Health Canada launched a public education campaign in March 2023 to raise awareness of palliative care and grief for providers who are not palliative specialists. Phase II will launch in Summer 2023 and will broaden the audience to reach people living with a serious illness and their families.

In 2021, we also provided $1.5 million over five years to McMaster University to build palliative care capacity through scaling up its Strengthening a Palliative Approach in Long-Term Care program to support the quality of living and dying for residents and their family members within all long-term care homes in Canada.

Additionally, we announced $2 million in funding over four years to Healthcare Excellence Canada (HEC) to improve access to palliative care for persons who are experiencing homelessness or are vulnerably unhoused. This funding allows HEC to work with partner organizations such as the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, to help improve the delivery of palliative care services so that everyone can receive safe, timely, appropriate care in the place of their choosing.

To support the mental health and well-being of dedicated caregivers, our government is providing $50 million to support projects that address posttraumatic stress disorder and trauma in health workers, front line and other essential workers. In addition, $100 million is being provided to support projects that promote mental health and prevent mental illness in populations disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including front line and essential workers.

This week can also amplify difficult moments for many—if you need hospice palliative care, if you are the friend or family member of someone in hospice palliative care, or if you are a front-line worker, we know that this work and the decisions involved can take a toll on your mental health. The Wellness Together Canada portal and PocketWell app provide 24/7 access to free and confidential mental health and substance use services. Please reach out to get the help you need.

This week, we encourage you to get involved and spread awareness of the value of palliative care in Canada by using the hashtags #palliativecareeverywhere and #NHPCW on your social media channels. Together, with all partners, we will keep working to ensure everyone gets the care they deserve.

Learn more about palliative care.

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P.
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, P.C., M.P.
The Honourable Kamal Khera, P.C., M.P.


Guillaume Bertrand
Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

Maja Staka
Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

Alisson Lévesque
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Kamal Khera, Minister of Seniors

Media Relations
Health Canada

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