Our Story

The true story that inspired Pallium Canada and our vision and mission

In the mid 1990’s, a middle-aged Canadian man with advanced cancer walked into my office in a small rural town in southern Manitoba. I was the third physician he had visited for help. He was experiencing severe pain and none of the physicians had been able to help him.

He knew he was terminally ill, was not afraid of dying, but was fearful of suffering in whatever time he had remaining.

Unfortunately, I, like other doctors and many other health professionals, had never received any palliative care education. I informed George that I would not be able to increase the dose of morphine and that there was nothing more that I could do.

George was devastated. Unbeknownst to myself, the dose was already too low and further increases would have been safe and effective. George took his wife by the hand and, as he left the clinic room, he turned to me and said:

“I hope one day doctors (and other health professionals) like you can better look after people like me.”

A Brief History of Pallium Canada

  • The Project: Phase 1 (2000-2003)

    Pallium Phase I brought palliative care resources to inter-professional, front-line health care providers (primarily doctors, nurses and pharmacists) working in rural communities in the Canadian prairies.
  • Broadening the Scope: Phase 2 (2003-2007)

    A federal grant advanced Phase II to expand across Canada, educating over 500 health professionals in 72 learning projects. In anticipation of funding coming to an end in 2007, Pallium began exploring new models that would support ongoing and broader diffusion of the LEAP courses and products without much logistical support
  • The Unfunded Phase: Phase 3 (2008-2013)

    Notwithstanding the absence of funding, the Pallium LEAP course continued to be used and delivered across the country and there was a significant uptake in large provinces such as Ontario, particularly when that province’s Cancer Agency started using LEAP for its palliative care capacity building initiatives.
  • Community Engagement: Phase 4 (2014-2017)

    Phase 4 renewed existing legacies and developed new modules, thematics, and knowledge transfer approaches supported through a Health Canada grant and a generous donation by the Patrick Gillin Estate.
  • Building and Bridging: Phase 5 (2017-2020)

    Pallium is mobilizing and growing its diverse network of committed palliative care professionals, providers and volunteers across the country to ensure that there is a significant presence in all regions, be they urban, rural, remote, English, French or bilingual. Pallium will increase its provincial and territorial engagements across the country, as well as regional health service providers including home care agencies, family medicine clinics, paramedic services, long term care facilities and nursing homes, emergency departments and hospitals, amongst others.


Pallium Canada is proud to have received several awards over the years.

2017 Best Abstract Award at the European Association for Palliative Care
2016 The College of Family Physicians of Canada Continuing Professional Development Program Award
2010 Balfour Mount Champion Award
2006 Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association Leadership Award