Delivery of Palliative Care by Physicians in Canada: A Definitions Document

(September 2019) The Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians (CSPCP) is pleased to share recommended credentialing standards for specialist palliative care physicians practicing in Canada: Delivery of Palliative Care by Palliative Physicians in Canada – a Definitions Document July 2019 final – EN.

The palliative care needs of Canadians are best met through the provision of palliative care across primary and specialist levels of care, which requires physicians with differing levels of expertise and training, as described in the national Framework on Palliative Care in Canada. All physicians should have core competencies and skills in palliative care, taught at the undergraduate and postgraduate education levels, to be able to provide a palliative approach to care for their patients. For the development of specialized expertise in palliative care, we now have two certification routes developed for palliative care consultants: a Certificate of Added Competence through the College of Family Physicians of Canada and a Subspecialty in Palliative Medicine through the Royal College. Both routes support the development of consultant level, specialist palliative care expertise.

Recognition of these providers at the provincial level is necessary in order for us to begin to assess, measure and plan for human resources, including residency positions, needed across Canada to improve teaching, mentoring, research, program development and access to palliative care.