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The National Patient Safety Consortium, a group of more than 50 organizations, established the Integrated Patient Safety Action Plan, a shared action plan for safer healthcare. One of the plan's guiding principles is patient engagement, and one of the shared actions is a comprehensive guide for patient engagement based on evidence and best practices.

The Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI), a national organization established by Health Canada to improve patient safety and quality in the Canadian healthcare system, led the work on the guide. The Canadian Patient Safety Institute, along with the Atlantic Health Quality and Patient Safety Collaborative, Patients for Patient Safety Canada, and Health Quality Ontario provided leadership and funding to develop the guide. Beginning in 2016, the Canadian Patient Safety Institute brought together patients, government, and organizations responsible for improving patient safety and quality at the national or provincial level, to form an Action Team to help develop the guide.

The Action Team included:

A consultant team (One World Inc.) supported the Action Team's work by conducting an environmental scan to identify current evidence, leading, and emerging practices, and by drafting the content of the guide. The environmental scan offered examples of patient engagement in patient safety and quality, a targeted review of academic literature, a web scan, and interviews with key informants in the field.

Forty patients and providers from across the country participated in focus groups to help develop the guide's scope and content, including feedback on drafts. Ten patients and providers also participated in a usability pilot to validate the format and provide ideas on how to make the guide easier to use. Learn more online.

Because patient engagement evidence and practice are continuously emerging, the guide was designed as an evergreen resource that is regularly updated and refined. The first edition of the Guide was launched in 2017, the second edition in 2018 and the third edition in 2019. The 2018 and 2019 revisions were based on a quick review of the literature and leading practices, and in consultation with the Action Team. Because of the key role accreditation plays in establishing patient engagement as a core feature of healthcare, the Guide is closely aligned with the standards established by the Health Standards Organization (HSO) / Accreditation Canada. Throughout the Guide the points of alignment are indicated by the HSO logo.

Please bookmark the website hosting the Guide as it includes additional information that complements this pdf document. The website is updated more frequently. To contribute to the guide (e.g., with resources, leading practices, potential topics), or to be the first to know about updates, email:

Complementary resources, including the Canadian Patient Engagement Network and the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement's Patient Engagement Resource Hub, are available online.


Patient Engagement Action Team. 2017. Engaging Patients in Patient Safety – a Canadian Guide. Canadian Patient Safety Institute. Last modified December 2019. Available at:  

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