History & Accomplishments

The CSPCP was formed as a grassroots movement in 1993 by three of the pioneers of Palliative Medicine in Canada: Drs. Neil MacDonald, John Scott and Maurice Falardeau, with support from Dr. Ken McKinnon, Mr. Neil Roberts and Mr. Rodney Burgar. Their vision was “to advance the quality of life of the dying and their families, ensure the provision of the interdisciplinary Palliative Care and competent care of the dying by primary care physicians, supported by palliative care experts”. Notice of the newly formed Society was posted in the Canadian Medical Journal in 1994. CMAJ 1994; 151(3):356. The Pro-Tem Board handed over to the first elected Board of the Society, with Dr. Balfour Mount as President, in August 1994.

The membership stood at 76 at the 1994 Annual Meeting. The Society has grown to over 650 members in 2021.

Past Presidents
Past Presidents of the CSPCP: Dr. Leonie Herx, Dr. David Henderson, Dr. Susan MacDonald, Dr. Doris Barwich, Dr. Ingrid de Kock, Dr. Doreen Oneschuk, Dr. Cori Schroder, Dr. Paul Daeninck, Dr. Michael Downing, Dr. Larry Librach, Dr. Deb Dudgeon, Dr. Ina Cummings, and Dr. Balfour Mount.

Achievements of the Society

  • Released LTC key messages (2022).
  • CSPCP Key Messages LTC March 2022 FINAL
    Messages clés : Intégrer l’approche palliative dans les établissements de soins de longue durée (2022 mars)

  • Successfully held the Advanced Learning in Palliative Medicine Conference in virtual format for the first time (2021).
  • Contributed to the Canadian Interdisciplinary Palliative Care Competency Framework, developed by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (2021).
  • Participated in development and release of Opioid Safety Recommendations in Adult Palliative Medicine (2021).
  • Gave input on national issues including Bill C-7: An act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying), CPSO regarding conscience rights, and the Health Standards Organization about the need for palliative approach to care to be included in national standards for Long Term Care (2020, 2021).
  • Successfully adapted to pandemic challenges through educational webinars, frequent communication, establishment of an online community of practice, and strong advocacy on issues such as drug shortages and conservation, standards for symptom management and end of life care, and issues and solutions for palliative care (2020, 2021).
  • Established a Wellness Committee to promote wellness and resiliency amongst our members. The group organizes member-specific resources, webinars, activities and conference presentations (2020 – present).
  • Completed and published a multi-year study about palliative care clinical rotations in Canada at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. (doi: 10.9778/cmajo.20190138 cmajo April 14, 2020 vol. 8 no. 2 E257-E263 ) (April 2020)
  • Released a joint statement and call to actionwith the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) regarding the ongoing confusion amongst the general public about Palliative Care and Medical Assistance in Dying. (November 2019)
  • Developed and published a staffing model for palliative care: https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/jpm.2019.0314 (October 2019)
  • Developed a Definitions Documentto describe the various roles that physicians play in the delivery of palliative care in Canada and to clarify the terminology and certification/ training requirements associated with these roles in order to help regulatory bodies and hiring institutions understand what credentials exist for physicians providing specialist palliative care in Canada. (Released September 2019)
  • Released Postgraduate Competencies for Palliative Care: A Guidance Document, describing the palliative care competencies that specialists from disciplines other than Palliative Medicine should have upon completion of their residency in order to provide a palliative approach to care for people with life-threatening conditions, and their families. (September 2019)
  • Released four online study modules, designed to help physicians prepare for the Royal College examination for the Subspecialty in Palliative Medicine, or for self-study (May 2019)
  • Released updated, nationally-validated competencies for medical undergraduates regarding palliative and end-of-life care (June 2018)
  • Advocated with MPs and Senators to adopt Bill C-277, An Act providing for the development of a framework on palliative care in Canada (Passed Dec 2017)
  • Released a report about the economics of palliative care. Read More(Feb 2017)
  • Announced the Journal of Palliative Medicine as the official Journal of the CSPCP (Feb 2017)
  • Released a seminal document entitledHow to Improve Palliative Care In Canada(Nov 2016)
  • Developed a position statement regarding access to opioids for patients requiring palliative care
  • Established CSPCP Lifetime Achievement Award (2014)
  • Advocated to keep palliative care services distinct from Medical Assistance in Dying
  • Advocated for safeguards for patients and for the right of all physicians to choose whether or not to participate in Medical Assistance in Dying
  • Conducted a National Palliative Medicine Survey in partnership with the CMA, CPFC, Royal College, and TVN. (See results on the reports and publications page here) (2014-15).
  • Recognition by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada of a two-year Sub-specialty in Palliative Medicine accessible from multiple entry routes (Fall 2013).
  • Establishment of a One Year of Added Competence (YAC) in Palliative Medicine conjointly accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the College of Family Physicians of Canada (1999). As of January 2014, there were 13 accredited programs in Canada.
  • Fall 2012, Palliative Care is one of 7 programs at the College of Family Physicians of Canada participating in a pilot project to define competence in areas of special interest. Results will direct the assessment criteria to demonstrate achievement of competence for awarding of Certificates of Competence (CAC).
  • Participation in a pilot project at the College of Family Physicians of Canada to define competence in areas of special interest, including Palliative Medicine (Fall 2012). Results will direct the assessment criteria for demonstrating achievement of competence for awarding of Certificates of Added Competence (CAC).
  • Collaboration with the Educating Future Physicians in Palliative Care (EFPPEC) Project (2004-2008) to establish national palliative care competencies for undergraduate medical students.
  • Incorporation of Palliative Care education in undergraduate medical curriculae.
  • June 2010, CSPCP endorsed decision made at a Special Meeting of the Royal College/CFPC Conjoint Advisory Committee on Palliative Medicine to pursue the development of a two year sub-specialty in Palliative Medicine through the Royal College and a one year special designation in palliative medicine through the CFPC. (June 2010)
  • Promotion of continuing professional development with the establishment of the Annual Advanced Learning in Palliative Medicine Conference, open to all member and non-member physicians.
  • Affiliation with the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association, the Canadian Medical Association and various other relevant organizations.
  • Promotion of interdisciplinary and inter-institutional palliative care research.
  • Partnership with Oxford University Press in publication of the Palliative Medicine Case-based Manual.
  • Recognition of the contributions of the Society’s members with the presentation of the annual Eduardo Bruera achievement award to an outstanding Canadian Palliative Care Physician.