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It’s time to talk about grief and bereavement in Canada

November 21, 2017 marks the first annual National Bereavement Day in Canada. On this day, the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) invites all Canadians to reflect on the importance of relationships past and present, to think about those who have passed away from our lives, and to help advocate for supports at the provincial and national levels for grieving Canadians.

“More than 260,000 Canadians die each year, and for every 1 person who has died there are, on average, 5 or more loved ones who live on,” says Sharon Baxter, Executive Director of the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA). “We all experience and handle bereavement and grief differently, and this reality has created the need to clarify what resources are available to Canadians dealing with an end-of-life care event. This includes, ensuring information and resources on hospice palliative care and advance care planning are accessible to all Canadians”

Why is this important? As a society, we are so focused on prolonging life and curing illness that very little thought is given to what happens to us during our end of life journey and to those we leave behind. Improving the end of life care process also means allowing caregivers and family members who have lost a loved one the time to grieve, to remember, and to heal.

The Canadian Hospice and Palliative Care Association has resources available on its website at as does the Canadian Virtual Hospice at Provincially, Palliative Manitoba offers a number of services to help people deal with bereavement. Visit or call 1.800.539.0295 for more information on support services available to you.

Interlake-Eastern RHA offers a unique camp to help children and youth cope with the death of a loved one. Camp Stepping Stones is a weekend grief camp where grief skills are learned and connections with others who are also grieving are made. Visit for more information or call 1.855.494.7369.

Holidays can be difficult time for people who have lost loved ones. Through December, Interlake-Eastern’s palliative care program’s memory trees are available in hospitals along with grief resources in public places where people can personalize a card ornament to honour the memory of their loved one.

Ongoing grief support groups facilitated by dedicated community members are also available. For more information on groups in your community or to facilitate one, contact Mike Goldberg, community outreach & education coordinator, Palliative Manitoba, P: (204) 889-8525 ext. 232 or
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