Media Release

Canadian Cancer Society announces new Don Green Palliative Care Advocacy Team dedicated to transforming hospice palliative care across Canada


The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) is building capacity to more actively advocate for better palliative care in Canada to help people facing a progressive, life-limiting illness like cancer. Thanks to generous funding from the Don and Shirley Green Family Charitable Foundation, CCS’s Don Green Palliative Care Advocacy Team will relentlessly champion solutions that improve access to, awareness and quality of palliative care across the country.

CCS and the Don and Shirley Green family both strongly support the belief that Canadians have a right to quality palliative care that allows them to die with dignity, free of pain, surrounded by their loved ones, in the setting of their choice. Thanks to a transformational donation of $1.5 million from the Don and Shirley Green Family Charitable Foundation, CCS has formed the new Don Green Palliative Care Advocacy Team with a dedicated focus on ensuring that right for people across Canada. Working in partnership with other groups dedicated to palliative care, the team will focus on removing barriers to increasing hospice beds, as well as improving data collection to better measure and report on access to and quality of hospice care in Canada. It will also advocate for appropriate education and training for healthcare providers and for funding options to spur the creation of hospices and community-based services for underserved communities across the country. Through the team, CCS will work to make Canadians more aware of the supports available through palliative care and the need for greater access.

Palliative care began as a treatment approach for people with cancer, and while Canadians with cancer are 3 times more likely to receive palliative care than Canadians with other conditions, too many people living with cancer are not able to access the palliative care they need when they need it.

“All Canadians should have access to quality palliative care and community-based hospice care for themselves and their family,” says Andrea Seale, CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society. “Thanks to the generous investment from the Don and Shirley Green Family Charitable Foundation, we will be able to dedicate attention to improving access to affordable, high-quality palliative care. Because the majority of people receiving palliative care have cancer, it is an important piece of overall cancer care.”

The need for better palliative care became clear to Debbie O’Brien after her father, Don Green, passed away in hospital because community-based hospice was not available. “My father did not want to spend his final days in hospital; he wanted to pass away in a peaceful environment in his community, surrounded by those he loved, but unfortunately a hospice bed wasn’t available when he needed it,” says Debbie. “I want to change the system so if other families want their loved one to be in a hospice for their final days, they have options available to them.”

CCS has long advocated for better access to affordable, culturally safe, high-quality palliative care regardless of where someone lives or chooses to receive care. In the 2021 federal budget, the government committed nearly $30 million over six years to advance a palliative care strategy, which was one of CCS’s pre-budget consultation requests. With funding from the Don and Shirley Green Family Charitable Foundation, CCS will be able to drive this issue forward, pursuing more ambitious goals to better support people with progressive, life-limiting illnesses. With a dedicated team of experts in the field of palliative care advocacy, CCS can provide, for the first time, a coordinated, strong voice in support of improved and increased hospice palliative care delivery in Canada, on behalf of patients and their families.

The importance of palliative care
Palliative care focuses on the quality of life of people who have a progressive, life-limiting illness. While palliative care is often thought of as an option that is only available for people once curative treatment is no longer an option, palliative care can and should be delivered throughout the cancer journey.

Research shows that palliative care improves the quality of life and satisfaction with care for people with cancer and their family caregivers, means less use of hospital emergency departments, and increases the likelihood that people with cancer will die in a setting of their choice.

Palliative care has been shown to be particularly effective when delivered early, before the last stages of life. However, the quality and availability of palliative care differ between and within provinces and territories. Accessibility and availability of care are not consistent even in large cities and can be even scarcer in rural and remote areas. Even when palliative care services are available, not all Canadians know about these services or how to access them.

Find out more about CCS’s advocacy work on palliative care at, or to learn more about palliative care.

About the Don and Shirley Green Family Charitable Foundation
The Don and Shirley Green Family Charitable Foundation is based out of Brockville, Ontario. The Foundation funds a large variety of charitable causes in Ontario, Canada and beyond. In addition to their recent donation to the Canadian Cancer Society, the Green Family recently donated $2 million towards an expansion at the Brockville General Hospital which includes a palliative care unit.

About the Canadian Cancer Society
The Canadian Cancer Society works tirelessly to save and improve lives. We fund the brightest minds in cancer research. We provide a compassionate support system for all those affected by cancer, from coast to coast and for all types of cancer. As the voice for Canadians who care about cancer, we work with governments to establish health policies to prevent cancer and better support those living with the disease. No other organization does all that we do to improve lives today and to change the future of cancer forever.

Help us make a difference. Call 1-888-939-3333 or visit today. 

For more information, please contact: 

Nuala Mckee
Canadian Cancer Society