Bereavement supports in BC (2021-23)

A provincial evidence-informed approach to supporting people experiencing bereavement in British Columbia


The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of life and death. Much of the attention has been paid to the impact on the medical system and the physical health of Canadians, but not to the bereaved.

Bereavement is defined as the grief and mourning experience following the death of someone important to you. ​

Our project aims to better understand the current state of bereavement in British Columbia during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specifically, we seek to understand:

  • How people in BC have experienced bereavement during the pandemic (beginning March 2020)
  • How and where British Columbians access support (formal and informal)
  • How bereavement support has changed through the pandemic and what forms of support were effective
  • What could be done better

Project components

A Province-Wide Current State Analysis on the Impact of COVID-19 on Bereavement in BC – The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of life and death. Yet, the impact on bereaved has had limited attention. In May 2021, the BC Centre for Palliative Care initiated a project that employs quantitative and qualitative research methods to understand the current state of  bereavement in British Columbia.

Literature review – We will conduct a literature review to identify practices that have been effective in supporting people grieving during the COVID-19 pandemic or other relevant situations such as previous pandemics or large-scale crises.
Surveys and interviews – Additionally, we will conduct surveys and interviews to gather information about how people experienced bereavement during the pandemic, and what supports they accessed to help them cope with it.

  • A survey and key informant interviews with bereavement service providers in BC
  • A survey and interviews with bereaved individuals in BC who experienced a loss after March 11, 2020.

Symposia – In Fall 2022, we will host three virtual symposia with services providers and bereaved people to review our findings and identify gaps in supports.
Roundtable – Following the symposia, we will host a virtual roundtable with experts and leaders in bereavement services to develop an evidence-informed action plan to enhance access to bereavement supports in British Columbia. The roundtable is funded by Michael Smith Health Research BC (For more information visit


Presentations and publications

  1. Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Conference – October 22, 2021 – title: Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on grief and bereavement in BC: a province-wide current state analysis – Presenters: Anica Butters & Joshua Black, PhD
  2. Quality Forum 2022 – June 1 & 2, 2022 – title: Supporting people experiencing bereavement in British Columbia – A provincial evidence-informed approach – poster presentation – Presenter: Dr. Joshua Black


For more information

For any further information about this project, please contact Joshua Black, PhD, at

Make sure you sign up for the BCCPC CentrePoint newsletter to learn more about the results.

Project Teams

Project Leadership (BCCPC)

  • Dr. Eman Hassan
  • Joshua Black, PhD

Project Team and Support (BCCPC)

  • Anica Butters
  • Jody Monk
  • Nicolas Starkes
  • Rachel Carter
  • Ronald Arjadi
  • Kathleen Yue
  •  Betty Andersen
  • Elizabeth Causton
  •  Pam Martin
  • Pam Warkentin
  •  Tina Lowery
  • Jas Cheema
  • Lesley Johnston
  •  Lisa Clement
  • Simon Anderson

Advisory Committee

  • Marney Thompson — Victoria Hospice
  • Dr. Heather Mohan — Lumara Grief & Bereavement Care Society
  • Jessica Lowe — BC Bereavement Helpline
  • Shelly Cory — Canadian Virtual Hospice
  • D’Arcy Wingrove — Public Partner
  • Annette Berndt — Public Partner
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