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Why does Canada need a National Quality and Patient Safety Framework for Health Services?

The need for a national patient safety and quality framework

Health services across Canada are comprehensive, complex and at times complicated. Every person in Canada deserves safe, high-quality healthcare when and where they need it. For the most part, this is our experience. 

But we don't always get it right. People may be inadvertently harmed by the services intended to help them. 

  • The reality is that unintended harm occurs in a Canadian hospital or home care setting every minute and 18 seconds.
  • Every 13 minutes and 14 seconds, someone dies. 
  • Patient safety incidents are the third leading cause of death in Canada.

There are also significant variations in care by age, gender, race or ethnicity, geography and socio-economic status. Access to quality health services is more challenging for First Nations, Inuit and Métis, Black people, LQBTQ2S+ identities (including Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning and Two-Spirit), immigrants, visible minorities, and many more diverse peoples that comprise our country. While some jurisdictions have quality and safety plans or frameworks in place, people continue to experience healthcare differently across the country.

These considerations, when added to the heightened need for consistency and coordination in healthcare as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, prompt us to ask: How can we focus and align quality and safety improvement throughout the country, regardless of jurisdiction?

Alt text: 5 Goals to Align Canada on Patient Safety and Quality Improvement. The Framework's ultimate aims are: Improving key quality and safety areas, reducing unwarranted care variation, strengthening high-quality health services that improve patient experience and outcomes.

The Framework is the first of its kind in Canada  

We can all work together to accelerate quality and patient safety across health systems in Canada by focusing all stakeholders coast to coast on five goals for safe, quality care. 

This people-centred framework defines five goal areas designed to drive improvement and to align Canadian legislation, regulations, standards, organizational policies and public engagement on patient safety and quality improvement. 

It includes action guides and resources customized for each stakeholder group to support you in putting the goals into practice.

Download the Framework  

How to use the Framework

Be sure to take full advantage of all the communications tools and resources in this package. 

Download the Communication Toolkit  

Share your experience 

How have you used the Canadian Quality and Patient Safety Framework to drive quality and safety improvements?  Please email and share your experience with us for an opportunity to be profiled as a leading practice or a case study.

Mapping tool 

A mapping tool was developed to help you map your organization's current quality and patient safety improvement initiatives to the goals, objectives and outcomes of the Framework. This exercise will help demonstrate your organization's strengths in aligning with the Framework and uncover opportunities to work toward these key goals for safe, high-quality care.

Framework Mapping Tool

Share Your Experience: Contact Us  

For any questions, comments or to share your experience using the Framework, please contact Thank you again for collaborating with us. We sincerely appreciate your willingness to share the Canadian Quality and Patient Safety Framework with your network and to align with five goals for safe, quality care.The Canadian Quality & Patient Safety Framework for Health Services - Canadian Patient Safety Institute (now Healthcare Excellence Canada) & HSO.