Interfaith Letter to Senators on Palliative Care Bill C-277

20 October 2017

[Website note: Read more about this issue.]

All Senators
The Senate
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A4

Dear Senator,

How our country cares for its most vulnerable reflects our national values and priorities. Those approaching the final stages of life are, unquestionably, among our most vulnerable.

We believe that palliative care is a compassionate response to those who are facing illness or at the end of life. It is an approach that treats the whole person, respects human dignity and provides comfort to patients and their families.

Yet it is estimated that only about 30% of Canadians who need palliative care have access to it. It is a national imperative that we increase the quality of and access to palliative care across the country, and make it a central and integral part of our health care system.

Support for Bill C-277, introduced by MP Marilyn Gladu, is an important first step. Bill C-277 calls for the development of a pan-Canadian palliative care framework, which would lead us a significant step forward by increasing caregiver support and data collection, and identifying palliative care education and training needs.

The Interfaith Statement on Palliative Care notes that visiting those who are sick, and caring for those who are dying, are core tenets of our respective faiths and reflect our shared values as Canadians. The Statement affirms the World Health Organization’s definition of palliative care and calls for initiatives to increase the quality, availability and accessibility of palliative care across the country.

Compassion is a foundational element of Canadian identity, and it is therefore incumbent on all levels of government to support a robust, well-resourced, national palliative care strategy.

Please take steps to improve palliative care in Canada, including support for Bill C-277.


Shimon Koffler Fogel
Chief Executive Officer, The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs

The Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton
President, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

Imam Sikander Hashmi
Canadian Council of Imams

Mr. Bruce J. Clemenger
President, The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada