February 5th, 2016

Access to Palliative Care Should be a Right, Say New Democrats

OTTAWA – New Democrats introduced a detailed plan to improve palliative care for Canadians at the final hearing of the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying in Ottawa on Thursday night.

‎The plan would make palliative care a right for all Canadians and see Ottawa work with the provinces and territories to implement a pan-Canadian strategy to improve palliative and end of life care.

"We have heard loud and clear, from every witness, that where Canadians come together is on the need for better palliative care," said NDP Justice Critic Murray Rankin (Victoria), “This is common ground for all Canadians and it’s a centrepiece of our contribution to this special committee. It’s time to build on MP Charlie Angus’ work in the last parliament, recognize this as a priority for all Canadians and build it into the federal government’s response to the Supreme Court’s decision on physician-assisted dying.”

The NDP’s plan includes a national awareness campaign on end of life care, as well as recommendations for more flexible and available Compassionate Care benefits for all caregivers.

A motion led by NDP MP Charlie Angus (Timmins – James Bay) received co-sponsors from all parties and was passed by the House of Commons last year with near-unanimous support.

"New Democrats understand the urgency of taking action on the issue of palliative care,” said Angus (Timmins – James Bay). “The Supreme Court has ruled on the right to assisted dying, and we believe that Canadians also need the right to have access to quality end of life palliative care."