News Release - Ipsos Survey Report

September 21, 2016
For immediate release

Canadians Strongly Support Access to High Quality Palliative Care

Edmonton --- Palliative Care Matters has released the results of an Ipsos survey on palliative care. The results are an essential part of the evidence that a lay panel of Canadians will weigh at the Consensus Development Conference being held in Ottawa November 7-9, 2016, along with presentations from leading researchers in the field. 1. Palliative Care Matters wishes to acknowledge the financial support of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC) in making the Ipsos survey possible.

“The survey results show strong support for high quality palliative care for all Canadians, whether they live in rural and remote areas or in urban centres. Canadians are also strongly supportive of palliative care in a range of settings, including hospitals, hospices, and in the home. They believe programs should be comprehensive and address physical, emotional and human dimensions of care,” said Fred Horne, Co-Chair of the Consensus Development Conference and a former Alberta minister of health.

Support for leadership from the federal government was very strong, with 86% of respondents wanting to see national standards developed and implemented by the federal government. Support is high for palliative care becoming an insured service under the Canada Health Act at 85%, with 53% of those strongly agreeing. Canadians also want the Government of Canada to prepare a document outlining its plan for a palliative care program (89%) and 79% say they would read it.

“The results of the survey show that we need a vision for palliative care in the country. The research shows that almost one in four Canadians has cared for someone or is actively caring for someone right now and we need to create the right system to support them. In order to do this successfully and sustainably, we need all five health care partners involved - the people, governments, universities, health care managers as well as the profession.” said Dr. Granger Avery, President of the Canadian Medical Association.

Canadians were also clear that compassion matters. While pain management and help with daily living were seen as the most important elements of palliative care, Canadians want to see programs and providers that treat them with compassion. They value caregivers who are specifically trained in palliative care, including someone in the system who can coordinate services (88%).

"Palliative care provides comfort and support to patients and families during a life limiting illness, at the end stages of life and when dealing with grief and loss," said Sharon Baxter, Executive Director, Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association. "While Canadians strongly value hospice palliative care, overall awareness is low." Only 58% of Canadians are aware of what palliative care involves on an unaided basis and 55% are aware of end of life care. Less than half are aware of residential hospice care (49%) or advance care planning (36%). Awareness of federal Compassionate Care Benefits is low at 15%.

“This survey lays the foundation for the next phase of this initiative,” said Karen Macmillan, Executive Lead for Palliative Care at Covenant Health and Conference Co-Chair. “The results, along with research from leading experts, will be presented at the Consensus Development Conference and inform the lay panel’s consensus statement on future directions for palliative care in Canada. We want professionals, patients and caregivers from across Canada to speak up and have their points of view represented at the conference.” 
Complete results and conference details are available at .


Palliative Care Matters is a national initiative that aims to further the development of a national palliative care strategy through a three part process that includes gathering input from the public and experts through research, holding the Consensus Development Conference in November, and issuing a report from the Conference Board of Canada outlining policy options and possible implementation plans early 2017.

Palliative Care Matters asked 1540 Canadians what they wanted to see happen with palliative care in the country.  The poll was online August 2 – 11, 2016, and the associated margin of error is +/-2.5%. The research questions were based on an analysis of recommendations made in previous reports on palliative care and input from a series of focus groups held in Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal.

About Covenant Health and the Palliative Institute:

Covenant Health is Canada’s largest Catholic health care organization and a key partner in Alberta’s integrated health system.  Covenant Health has established the Palliative Institute, committed to relieving suffering for patients and their families.

For more information on the 14 national organizations supporting the initiative, visit:

To arrange interviews with Fred Horne and/or Karen Macmillan, contact: 

Barbara Marcinkoski
Communications Consultant
Covenant Health Palliative Institute
(780) 735-9638

To speak with Sharon Baxter, contact:

Sarah Levesque
Communications Officer / Agente aux communications
Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) / Association canadienne de soins palliatifs (ACSP)
(613) 241-3663 ext. 229 or/ou 1(800) 668-2785

News Release - Launch of Palliative Care Matters

July 21, 2016

Covenant Health and National Partners launch Palliative Care Matters

  • Palliative Care Matters is creating a national strategy and roadmap by asking Canadians what they want to see happen.
  • The initiative is supported by 13 organizations and co‐chaired by Karen Macmillan, SOO of Covenant Health and Fred Horne, former Alberta health minister.
  • Former broadcaster Don Newman will chair the lay panel at the Consensus Development Conference.

EDMONTON, ALBERTA – Lack of consistent, reliable access to high‐quality palliative care services is a serious concern for many Canadians.

Palliative Care Matters is a national initiative designed to talk with Canadians about their views and lived experiences, review the most current evidence, and develop consensus on the steps that need to be taken now to ensure Canadians in all parts of the country can access high‐quality palliative care services as part of Canada’s universal healthcare model.

Covenant Health has joined with many of Canada’s leading national health organizations and experts in palliative care and health policy to lead this initiative. The initiative is being co‐chaired by Karen Macmillan, Senior Operating Officer of Covenant Health with lead in palliative care and Fred Horne, former Alberta health minister and health policy advisor.

Palliative Care Matters features Canada’s first consensus development conference on palliative care. Research done by the national polling firm Ipsos will inform the work of the initiative and The Conference Board of Canada will prepare a report after the conference outlining potential policy options and considerations for implementation.

Palliative Care Matters has three phases:

  • Over the summer a poll of 1500 Canadians will be conducted to find out what Canadians think, the services and supports they value most, and their views on access and approaches.
  • A Consensus Development Conference will follow on November 7‐9, 2016 in Ottawa. At the conference, a lay panel will study what Canadians said and hear from experts on the key issues that need to be addressed in order to improve palliative care. The lay panel is being chaired by Don Newman, one of Canada’s most respected journalists and an award winning broadcaster. Following their deliberations the lay panel will issue a consensus statement detailing their findings and proposing next steps.
  • The consensus statement will be at the heart of a roadmap for Canada released by The Conference Board of Canada early in 2017. The strategy will outline policy options and implementation plans to guide governments, health care delivery organizations, professionals and other stakeholders.

Palliative care provides comfort and support to patients and families during a life limiting illness, the end stages of life, and when dealing with grief and loss.

Interested Canadians are invited to sign up for more information at


“Ensuring that everyone has compassionate care at every stage of their life journey is our mission at Covenant Health. This is critically important as a person’s life draws to a close. That’s why Covenant Health is working with national partners to listen to what Canadians have to say, develop consensus on a palliative care approach for Canada, and bring this important issue to the forefront of our discussions about Canada’s health system in the future.” Karen Macmillan, Senior Operating Officer, Covenant Health, and Co‐Chair, Palliative Care Matters.

“With the recent passage of Bill C‐14, Canadians are now assured of access to medical assistance in dying. We now need to turn our attention to how Canada’s universal healthcare model can provide consistent access to high quality palliative care. Palliative Care Matters provides Canadians with an opportunity to express their views and, through the Consensus Development Conference, address key questions around how Canada should proceed.” Fred Horne, former Alberta Minister of Health and Co‐ Chair, Palliative Care Matters.

“We can’t escape the end of life. All Canadians, some day, will need to make decisions about the care we or someone we love receive in the last part of our journey. I’m honoured to be leading a panel of my fellow Canadians as we examine how we can live well with a life limiting illness or at the end of our life.” Don Newman, C.M., Senior Counsel, Navigator.

About Covenant Health and the Palliative Institute:

Covenant Health is Canada’s largest Catholic health care organization, providing compassionate, quality care to people of all faiths and traditions as a key partner in Alberta’s integrated health system. As a major provider of palliative care in the province, Covenant Health established the Palliative Institute, which is committed to relieving suffering for patients and their families.

For more information on Steering Committee members and Palliative Care Matters, visit:

To arrange interviews with Fred Horne and Karen Macmillan, contact:
Laura McNabb
Community Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator
Covenant Health Palliative Institute
(780) 735‐9638

To contact The Conference Board of Canada, call:
Juline Ranger
Director of Communications
(613) 526‐3090 ext. 431

To contact Don Newman, call:
Darryl Konynenbelt
Media Lead
(647) 203‐4340

In partnership with:

Palliative Care Matters – Steering Committee Members

Co‐chair: Karen Macmillan, Senior Operating Officer, Covenant Health
Co‐chair: Fred Horne, former Alberta Minister of Health (2011‐2014)

Sharon Baxter, Executive Director, Canadian Hospice and Palliative Care Association
Dr. Jeff Blackmer, Vice‐President, Medical Professionalism, Canadian Medical Association ‐ Office of Ethics
Dr. Heather Bryant, Vice‐President, Cancer Control, Canadian Partnership Against Cancer
Dr. J. David Henderson, President‐Elect, Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians
Anya Humphrey, Family/Patient Advocate
Shelly Jamieson, CEO, Canadian Partnership Against Cancer
Maria Judd, Senior Director, Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement
Tammy Moore, CEO, ALS Society of Canada
John Ruetz, President & CEO, Catholic Health Sponsors of Ontario
Stephen Samis, Vice‐President of Programs, Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement
Marcel Saulnier, A/Associate ADM, Strategic Policy Branch, Health Canada
Shirlee Sharkey, President & CEO, Saint Elizabeth Health Care
Anne Sutherland Boal, CEO, Canadian Nurses Association
Dr. Kathryn Todd, Vice President, Research, Innovation & Analytics, Alberta Health Services
Russell Williams, Chair, Canadian Frailty Network
Jewel Buksa, Project Manager, Palliative Care Matters