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Canadian Quality & 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 1 minute and 18 seconds
  • Every 13 minutes and 14 seconds, someone dies
  • Patient safety incidents are the third leading cause of death in Canada

Even more, there are significant variations in care by age, gender, race/ethnicity, geography and socio-economic status. Access to quality health services is more challenging for Indigenous peoples, (including 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 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, prompt us to ask: How can we focus and align quality and safety improvement throughout the country, regardless of jurisdiction?

Five goals to align Canada on Patient Safety and Quality Improvement. The Canadian Quality and Patient Safety Framework for Health Services is the first of its kind in Canada.

We can all work together to accelerate quality and patient safety across Canadian health systems by focusing all stakeholders across Canada 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.

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

Leading Practice

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.

Evaluation Survey

How is the Canadian Quality and Patient Safety Framework helping you align with Canada on five goals for quality, safe care? Heathcare Excellence Canada and Health Standards Organization welcome your feedback (10 min survey):

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. 

For any questions, comments or to share your experience using the Framework, please contact