Ontario Improving Access to Hospice and Compassionate Care in Waterloo Region

Published on November 08, 2021

Funding will support high-quality palliative care for individuals and families


NEWS                                                                                                                         November 8, 2021


WATERLOO — The Ontario government is investing $750,000 to help Hospice Waterloo Region and Innisfree House continue to provide compassionate end-of-life services and care to people and their loved ones in Waterloo Region. This one-time funding represents a 35 per cent increase in the province’s annual investment in both local hospices.


“Since day one, I have been a strong supporter of our local hospices and the incredible work they do,” said Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris. “Hospice Waterloo Region and Innisfree House provide comfort and compassionate care to those approaching the end of their life and importantly, their loved ones. This funding will ensure that continues without interruption.”


Hospice palliative care plays a vital role in Ontario’s health care system, providing people with additional options for high-quality end-of-life care outside of hospitals. This year the government is investing up to $23 million in eligible hospice residences across the province as part of its comprehensive plan to end hallway health care, ensuring that people can access high-quality care in the right settings now and in the future.


“We are grateful the government has recognized the unique financial pressures facing hospices due to the pandemic,” said Judy Nairn, Executive Director of Hospice of Waterloo Region. “Over 50% of our operating budget is covered by local donors and this funding will address some of the shortfalls we have experienced. Hospices are an integral component of the health care system that provide appropriate care for those at end of life while supporting their families and we look forward to working with the government and Hospice Palliative Care Ontario to ensure that this highly valued critical service is always available to our community,”


The funding will be used to address additional costs associated with COVID-19, including the procurement of personal protective equipment. This is in addition to the province’s annual investment of over $74 million per year in palliative care, and ensures all eligible hospices received a minimum increase of 30 per cent this year.


“As part of our plan to end hallway health care, our government is building capacity to create an integrated health care system centred around the needs of patients, families and caregivers, including compassionate end-of-life care,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “This funding will help Ontarians receive the respect, dignity and care they deserve at every stage of their lives, while ensuring the province’s hospices have the tools they need to continue to provide high-quality care throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”


Since 2018, the Ontario government has invested $40 million to add over 200 new hospice beds across the province that support high-quality care for more than 7,000 additional patients per year. Once opened, these beds will be supported by an annual investment of $23 million in operating funding. To date, 149 beds have been opened and are supported by $15.5 million in annual funding from the province. 

“Our sincere thanks to the Minister of Health for this financial support that recognizes and values the residential care Lisaard & Innisfree Hospice provides to our community,” said Andrea Binkle, Executive Director of Innisfree House. “60% of our operational costs rely on donated funds, and since the start of the pandemic, we have seen a 45% reduction in our donation revenue. This one-time funding will help us continue to provide exceptional care to individuals in their final days, and support for their families into bereavement – all without financial worries or stress.”



  • The province has increased its dedicated investments in hospice expansion and palliative care quality improvement initiatives from $67 million in 2018 to over $74 million in 2021. This represents a 10.5 per cent increase.
  • Hospices provide compassionate end-of-life services to people and families in their communities. Services can include 24/7 professional nursing and personal support services, caregiver supports, and pain and symptom management.