Milestones in Hospice Palliative Care 

A history of hospice palliative care in Canada and the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association 

CHPCA Historical Timeline 

1987: Groundwork for a national association begins at the National Palliative Care Conference in Ottawa.

1991: The Canadian Palliative Care Association (CPCA) was formally established as a national charitable organization.

1994:  The first office opens in Ottawa and Linda Lyse is appointed as the first executive Director

1998: The first annual National Hospice Palliative Care Week event was launched by Her Excellency Mme. Diana Fowler-LeBlanc, C.C. A kick-off event was held at Rideau Hall.

2001: At the Annual General Meeting held in Victoria, B.C. the membership of the then Canadian Palliative Care Association (CPCA) supported a motion from the Board of Directors to change the name of the association to the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA).

2002: CHPCA publishes A Model to Guide Hospice Palliative Care: Based on the National Principles and Norms of Practice, a landmark document providing information on nationally accepted norms of practice for hospice palliative care.

2003: The first national Hike for Hospice Palliative Care was held on Sunday, May 4th, 2003.

2006: CHPCA and the Canadian Home Care Association publish The Pan-Canadian Gold Standards for Palliative Home Care: Toward Equitable Access to High Quality Palliative and End-of-Life Care at Home.

2008: CHPCA launches the Advance Care Planning in Canada initiative and holds first annual ACP Day.

2016: The Canadian Compassionate Companies designation is created by CHPCA’s Champion’s Council.

2017: First annual National Bereavement Day in Canada occurs on November 21.

2019: The first annual National Children’s Hospice Palliative Care Day was held.

History of Hospice Palliative Care in Canada 

1974: The first palliative care unit opened at Winnipeg’s St. Boniface General Hospital. Within a matter of weeks, the second palliative care unit in Canada opened at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, Quebec.

1975: Dr. Balfour Mount launches the ‘palliative’ service at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal.

1976: Dr. Balfour Mount and colleagues host the first international conference on palliative care in North America at McGill University.

1981: The Palliative Care Foundation in Toronto proposes a formal definition of palliative care: “Palliative care is active compassionate care of the terminally ill at a time when they’re no longer responsive to traditional treatment aimed at cure and prolongation of life and when the control of symptoms, physical and emotional is paramount. It is multidisciplinary in its approach and encompasses the patient, the family, and the community in its scope.”

1985: The Journal of Palliative Care becomes the first Canadian journal dedicated to hospice palliative care in Canada. Manitoba’s Jocelyn House, Canada’s first free-standing hospice, is built.

1988: The deans of 12 Canadian medical schools appointed representatives, including Dr. Balfour Mount, to a Canadian Palliative Care Curriculum Committee.

1990: The Royal Victoria Hospital begins developing a National Palliative Care Directory of Programs and Services.

1991: The Canadian Palliative Care Association (now CHPCA) is established.

1993: The Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians is established.

1995: The Order of St. Lazarus adopts palliative care as its primary charitable focus.

1996: Dr. Balfour Mount’s expression, “palliative care”, becomes a Medical Subject Heading (MeSH). Further helping to legitimize and emphasize the differences between “care” and “treatment.”

1999: The Palliative Care Training for Support Workers Project launches, enabling hundreds of support workers from across Canada to be trained in hospice palliative care.

2000: The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology releases a landmark report containing 14 key recommendations to the federal government to address critical issues in Canada related to end-of-life care. The Quality End-of-Life Care Coalition of Canada is launched.

2001: Prime Minister Chrétien appoints Senator Carstairs as Minister with Special Responsibility for Palliative Care.  The creation of the Secretariat on Palliative and End-of-Life Care at Health Canada is announced.

2002: A Model to Guide Hospice Palliative Care is published.

2004: Canadians begin having access to Compassionate Care Benefits (CCB) and the Canadian Nurses Association began to offer Hospice Palliative Care Nursing Certification to Canadian nurses.

2008: The CHPCNIG moves from an interest group to a national nursing group called the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Nurses Group (CHPCNG).

2010: The QELCCC releases Blueprint for Action 2010 to 2020

2016: The Parliament of Canada passes federal legislation that allows eligible Canadian adults to request medical assistance in dying.

2017: Bill C-277, the Framework on Palliative Care in Canada Act becomes law.

2018: Health Canada publishes A Framework for Palliative Care in Canada.

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    Updated CHPCA Position Statement on Medical Assistance in Dying to Improve Clarity and Reflect Current Legislation

    The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) is publishing its updated position statement on Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) to reflect new legislation impacting MAiD enacted after June 2019, to improve the clarity of its position, and to update the definition of palliative care adopted by CHPCA.

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    Ross Video Becomes First Certified Canadian Compassionate Company

    Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) today announced Ross Video, which already had a “designation” as a Canadian Compassionate Company (CCC), is being elevated to the new certificate program.

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    New Funding to Pan-Canadian Research Network Supports Quality Palliative Care

    Today the Pan-Canadian Palliative Care Research Collaborative announced the receipt of $2.5 million from Health Canada to support a network of researchers, clinicians, and community in advancing palliative care for patients and caregivers.