People with advanced illness need high quality palliative care. Studies show that some populations in Western countries tend to experience more pain and related symptoms compared to others. In Canada, disparity exists for the most vulnerable Canadians. Vulnerable populations include women in precarious circumstances, immigrants, refugees, people in poverty, visible minorities, and Indigenous peoples, among others. ALIVIO is a research program that examines the complex interaction of social vulnerability and symptom relief. The ultimate goal is to enhance patient and family well being in socially vulnerable cancer populations who need palliative care. An important focus of this program is the perspectives of patients, families, and health care providers, decision makers, and the public in general. This knowledge can assist us to develop interventions that are tailored to the needs of particular populations who may face additional life challenges as a result of social vulnerability.