Bill 52: the Canadian Cancer Society welcomes the priority given to palliative care

12 June 2013

Montreal, QC -

The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) applauds the bill on end-of-life care tabled today by the Quebec government. The CCS also considers that the explicit inclusion of the right to end-of-life care in the bill represents major progress. The CCS will present its comments during the public consultation phase. Presently, it calls for prompt action to enhance palliative care since current inadequacies are proving detrimental to the well-being of people in the final stage of life.

In 2013, 20,200 people will die of cancer; they will need support and palliative care. They cannot afford to wait. “People with cancer are suffering for no reason. Some receive palliative care a few days before they die, and others die in the emergency room. Actually, everyone in Quebec should have access to palliative care sooner and wherever they choose,” states Suzanne Dubois, Executive Director of the Canadian Cancer Society – Quebec Division.

The Quebec Minister for Social Services and Youth Protection, Véronique Hivon, has stated that the Act Respecting End-of-Life Care must, above all, foster the development of palliative care and that additional investment may be planned to this end. Currently, depending on the region, 20 to 60% of needs are met. With the right to end-of-life care, patients can request such care and healthcare establishments must provide it. According to Bill 52, all establishments will have to initiate end-of-life clinical programs and policies and report on their application.

The CCS hopes that the sensitive issues surrounding the bill will not obscure the vision that is being put forward. The CCS salutes all the members of the National Assembly who are working in support of the Dying with Dignity initiative launched in 2010. The situation that confronts people in the final stage of life provides a powerful incentive for continued cooperation on this issue.


  • In 2012, there were 685 palliative-care beds in Quebec – that is 110 beds short of the minimum required by the government’s ratio of 1 bed per 10,000 people (source: access to information requests, AQRP, 2012).
  • Only 10% of cancer patients die at home, even though 80% of them wish to do so (INSPQ, 2006). In certain places, such as Verdun in Montreal and Arthabaska in the Centre-du-Québec region, palliative care is fostered and 50% of patients die at home (Research report on palliative care in Quebec, CCS, 2013 – unpublished).
  • Fifty percent of palliative-care beds are located in hospital settings (Direction de la lutte contre le cancer, 2010-2011 activity report).
  • Cancer-related pain is a public health issue. Fifty percent of cancer patients do not receive sufficient care for their pain. (Congrès du Réseau de soins palliatifs du Québec, 2013).

For 75 years, the Canadian Cancer Society has been with Canadians in the fight for life. All these years, we have been relentless in our commitment to prevent cancer, fund research and support people touched by the disease. From this foundation, we will work with Canadians to change cancer forever so fewer Canadians are diagnosed with the disease and more survive. To know more about cancer, visit our website at or call our Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

For more information, please contact:

André Beaulieu

Spokesperson and Senior Advisor, Public Relations

Canadian Cancer Society

Quebec Division

Phone: (514) 393-3444