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Alberta Minister of Health Tyler Shandro speaks during a press conference in Calgary on May 29, 2020.

Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

The Alberta government says it will spend $20 million on end-of-life care.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro says the money is a first step in improving access to palliative care for patients and their families.

He says the province is committed to high-quality health care for Albertans.

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Shandro says $5 million of the money will go to the Covenant Health Palliative Institute to increase access to end-of-life services and to promote advance care planning.

Another $1 million will be provided to the Alberta Hospice Palliative Care Association to establish in-person and online support groups, develop a grief support line and expand educational workshops.

The province has also eliminated co-payments for end-of-life drugs needed by about 2,700 Albertans who choose to die at home or in a hospice.

“This means that patients covered by the government’s palliative drug plan no longer have to pay for the medications that they need as they near the end of their lives,” Shandro said Wednesday.

“It used to include co-payments of $25 per prescription with a cap of $1,000.”

Alberta Health said the remaining $14 million will be spent over the next three years based on consultations by Peace River MLA Dan Williams.

This content appears as provided to The Globe by the originating wire service. It has not been edited by Globe staff.

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