The palliative care Bill C-277 passed second reading in the House of Commons Jan. 31. Photo courtesy of Makaristos, public domain

Palliative care bill passes second reading, clears another hurdle

By 
  • February 8, 2017

OTTAWA – A national palliative care framework is one step closer to reality after legislation passed second reading in the House of Commons on Jan. 31.

Bill C-277, first introduced in the House last May, is now headed to the Health Committee for consideration before final reading.

The legislation would require the federal Minister of Health to consult with the provinces and territories and palliative care providers to develop a national framework that gives Canadians access to palliative care support caregivers.

“We’re grateful to MP Marilyn Gladu for introducing this much needed bill,” said Campaign Life Coalition Ottawa lobbyist Johanne Brownrigg. Campaign Life is among numerous groups that support the bill, including the Catholic Women’s League, the Catholic Organization for Life and Family and an interfaith coalition that includes the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Gladu acknowledged the Health Committee already has a lot on its agenda, but she expects her bill won’t get delayed.

“Palliative care is a priority and I think you can see that from the discussion and the all-party support we got,” she said. “People see this as a priority. We have to move. There’s money in the budget so I think it’s time for action.”

Gladu, first elected to the House of Commons in 2015, said she consulted with all parties to craft her bill, and relied heavily on the findings of the all-party Parliamentary Committee on Palliative Care that released a 2011 report calling for a national palliative care strategy, suicide prevention and elder abuse prevention.

Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia, an original member of the all-party committee, noted the government can use leverage by making palliative care funding part of its health agreements with the provinces.

The bill, with any amendments from the committee, will come back to the House of Commons for a vote on third reading before passing over to the Senate.

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