Government of Canada announces funding to help people living with chronic pain

Press Release

From: Health Canada

March 3, 2020 – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – Health Canada

Chronic pain is a serious health issue that affects both the physical and mental health of too many Canadians. The Government of Canada knows the importance of ensuring that people living with pain have access to the care and support they need.

That’s why today, on behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, Jim Carr, Member of Parliament and Special Representative for the Prairies, announced almost $3 million to improve access to care and services for people living with chronic pain.

Through Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP), the University of Saskatchewan will receive $1.7-million to increase access to chronic pain services. Through this project, pharmacists will receive special training to work with patients living with chronic pain. These pharmacists will provide ongoing advice and support, and ensure that patients have the information they need to use their pain medication safely.

Alberta Health Services (AHS) will also receive $1.2-million to implement and evaluate pathways to care for people living with pain and those with opioid use disorders. Alberta Health Services will work with the Alberta College of Family Physicians and the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health to improve care delivery including opioid prescribing practices.

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting programs and initiatives that aim to prevent, treat and reduce harm of substance use issues. This funding will provide Canadians and health care practitioners with specific tools, training, and strategies related to chronic pain management.


“Anyone who lives with chronic pain knows the toll it can take on one’s daily life. Persistent pain can make it hard to go to school or work. It can make it hard to take part in everyday activities with friends and family. That’s why our government is committed to helping Canadians living with chronic pain. Whether it’s developing chronic pain management strategies or tools to inform on opioids, this funding will help millions of Canadians affected by chronic pain.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

“This innovative approach in which pharmacists, in consultation with physicians, help patients to use pain medication safely, will reduce barriers to care for people living with chronic pain. This new way of health professionals working together will ensure that pain management is both effective and accessible, and will have relevance across Canada.”

Dr. Jane Alcorn
Dean of the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan

“By creating a standardized evidence based provincial approach to managing pain and opioid prescribing, this project, Opioid Care Pathways: Knowledge Translation Learning Collaboratives, will save lives and improve quality of life for Albertans. The pathways will be co-designed and reviewed by a multi-stakeholder group including physicians, healthcare providers, operational staff, and patients and families, to ensure that this meets the needs of Albertans in a meaningful and relevant way. Collaboration is key to this project’s success.”

Tracy Wasylak
Chief Program Officer of Alberta’s Strategic Clinical Networks™

Quick facts

  • Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts three months or more and is associated with significant emotional distress and/or functional disability. It is a malfunctioning of the pain signalling pathways of the nervous system. The pain may first emerge as a symptom of an injury or other health condition, but it can also occur without another underlying illness or injury.
  • Some Canadian populations, such as women, older Canadians, Veterans and Indigenous populations are disproportionally affected by chronic pain.
  • In addition to the creation of the Canadian Pain Task Force, more than $88 million has been invested in pain research through the Canadian Institute of Health Research.
  • The Canadian Pain Task Force is an external advisory body that is helping the Government of Canada better understand and address the needs of Canadians living with pain. The Task Force is currently seeking input from all Canadians to improve how we understand, prevent and manage pain in Canada. Their online consultation will be open until April 17, 2020.

Associated links


Cole Davidson
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Health Canada


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