Published on August 5, 2021
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OTTAWA, August 5, 2021 – A national poll was commissioned by the Advance Care Planning in Canada initiative to identify people’s current attitudes and behaviors towards planning for their future health and personal care.

Canadians were asked about Advance Care Planning, which is a process of reflection and communication in which people express their wishes for their future health and/or personal care if they could not speak for themselves. Responses for several questions were measured against results from the Advance Care Planning in Canada 2019 national poll.

Key findings from the 2021 poll say that 93% of Canadians say it’s important to talk to family members about their care wishes. Between 2019 and 2021, the number of Canadians who talked to a family member almost doubled: from one in three (36%) to almost two in three (59%).

But Canadians also think advance care planning is more complicated than it is and still find it difficult to have conversations about it. Even though 77% of Canadians think it’s important to talk to their health care providers about their wishes, only 7% said they had done so (down from 8% in 2019).

“The poll confirms that more Canadians are taking action and are more comfortable having those important conversations around advance care planning and end of life care”, says Karine Diedrich, Director, Advance Care Planning in Canada. “While the results show steps in the right direction, we still need to demystify the process of advance care planning and promote it as a vital part of life planning.”

The poll was conducted by Nanos Research in February and March 2021 and surveyed 3,002 Canadians 18 years and older.

Highlights from the Nanos Poll

  • 70% of Canadians (compared to 63% in 2019) felt comfortable having advance care planning conversations.
  • In 2021, more than four in 10 Canadians (42%) thought it was important to start planning young: up from 36% in 2019. The ideal age? Between 35 and 54.
  • Almost one-third (29%) think Canadians should do advance care planning when they make their wills.
  • Two-thirds of Canadians (65%) think planning is especially important for people in long-term care, and will lead to better quality care.
  • The main barriers seem to be lack of information or resources. Canadians also said they: couldn’t afford a lawyer or professional to help them (16%), didn’t know how to prepare a plan (14%) and didn’t know where to go for information and advice (12%)

For more detailed poll results, a summary infographic, and personal stories from Canadians around advance care planning, visit

The national Advance Care Planning (ACP) in Canada initiative is led by the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) with a financial contribution from Health Canada. The initiative aims to help people living in Canada prepare for their future and personal health care. The project involves a series of public awareness campaigns, supports community-based ACP programs, and promotes ACP resources and guides.