OTTAWA, ON November 6, 2013 – The Catholic Civil Rights League is encouraged to note that two NDP MPs have launched initiatives to address the gaps in access to good palliative care, including long-term and home care.

On Oct. 31, NDP Health Critic Libby Davies introduced private member’s Bill C-545: “An act respecting the provision of continuing care to Canadians,” and NDP Ethics Critic Charlie Angus introduced a private member’s motion to establish a national palliative care strategy.  The motion was based on the recommendation for a national strategy from the all-party Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and Compassionate Care, to which the League made a submission in 2010.

“We are pleased to see these initiatives brought forward,” said CCRL Executive Director Joanne McGarry. “As many as 70 per cent of Canadians do not have good access to palliative care. Some of the support we see for euthanasia is based on peoples’ concern that they may not be able to access good end-of-life care when they need it.”

Ms. Davies told the House of Commons when she introduced her bill: “Palliative care and continuing care are critical issues to Canadians. There is a strong national consensus from academics, health professionals and the public that we are sadly lacking in the pan-Canadian plan for continuing care, including home care, long-term care, respite care and palliative care.” Her bill would establish “pan-Canadian standards for best practices in continuing care, caregiver support, training, infrastructure and affordability.”

While supporting the concept behind these private members’ motions, the League will follow debate closely to ensure that the definition of palliative care does not stretch to include “medical aid in dying”, as has happened in Quebec with Bill 52.

About CCRL
Catholic Civil Rights League ( assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization and has chapters across Canada. The Catholic Civil Rights League is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.

For further information:
Joanne McGarry, Executive Director, 416-466-8244;