The Canadian Cancer Society – Quebec Division before the Parliamentary Committee examining end-of-life care: more palliative care demanded

01 October 2013

Montreal -

PRESS RELEASE                                                                              

The Canadian Cancer Society – Quebec Division before the Parliamentary Committee examining end-of-life care: more palliative care demanded


Montreal, October 1, 2013 — The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) – Quebec Division will appear this evening before the Health and Social Services Committee during consultations on Bill 52 respecting end-of-life care. While the CCS appreciates the overall tone of the bill and the creation of a committee on end-of-life care, it continues to stress the importance of making quality palliative care accessible to all Quebecers, regardless of their region or the place where they choose to die.


Even in regions with the most available palliative care, it is only one in two people who have access to it. In places where palliative care is difficult to find, only one in five people are able to receive it. “Would we accept a lack of hospital resources for births or our children being denied a place in school? No, it’s not negotiable. The 20,200 people who are going to die of cancer this year cannot afford to wait,” says Suzanne Dubois, Executive Director of the CCS – Quebec Division.

Not only does palliative care enhance the quality of life, but also prolongs the life of patients and allows less expensive treatments to be given (fewer visits to the emergency room, fewer days spent in hospital). Access to palliative care is a minimum that all Quebecers should have a right to, no matter what their postal code or place of death is. That is why the CCS is asking the government and Social Services Minister Véronique Hivon for:


  1. The standardization and improvement of all palliative care programs until they can be offered to all Quebecers who need them.
  2. The introduction of palliative care earlier during cancer treatment.
  3. More training for healthcare teams and support for caregivers, particularly in the context of growing home care.


The CCS’s reception to Bill 52 is favourable, but palliative care must be made a top priority by the government. “Future veterinarians have more hours of training on pain relief than future family doctors, even though this is a central issue in end-of-life care,” says Mélanie Champagne, Director, Public Issues, CCS – Quebec Division. It is not surprising that Quebecers fear receiving inadequate end-of-life care. The CCS believes that a concrete commitment from our elected leaders is needed to guarantee each one of us the best conditions possible for the final stage in our lives. This means palliative care for all at the right time, along with the necessary resources and support, administered by trained and respected professionals.


Facts and statistics

  • 69% of Quebecers wish to die at home; however, fifty percent of palliative care beds are located in hospital settings. (Leger Marketing survey, April 2013)
  • 70% of them also fear receiving inadequate care when they reach the final stage of their lives.(Leger Marketing survey, April 2013)
  • Cancer-related pain is a public health problem. Fifty percent of cancer patients are undertreated for 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.


Mélanie Champagne, Director, Public Issues

Canadian Cancer Society – Quebec Division

514 651-1470


André Beaulieu, Spokesperson and Senior Advisor, Public Relations

Canadian Cancer Society – Quebec Division

514 393-3444