Media Release

Canadian Cancer Society calls on all federal parties to make cancer a priority this election


The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) is urging political party leaders to make cancer a priority this federal election. Candidates can improve the cancer experience for all Canadians by adopting the recommendations outlined in CCS’s 2019 federal election platform.

One in two Canadians is expected to be diagnosed cancer in their lifetime. By 2030, the number of cancer cases in Canada is expected to be 40% higher than it was in 2015, driven largely by our aging and growing population. There is a critical need to provide additional support for people living with cancer and their families and to introduce further measures to prevent cancer. Without a strong nationwide response, there is a risk that the rising number of cancer cases will overwhelm our healthcare system, compromising the quality of care available to people with cancer today and crowding out the investments required to better prevent and treat the disease tomorrow.

“We are facing challenges in Canada that require strong government response. Our population is aging, access to health care is inequitable, and tobacco continues to be the leading preventable cause of cancer, killing more than 45,000 Canadians annually,” says Andrea Seale, Interim CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society. “It is important that our federal government address these challenges head on. That’s why we are calling on all political parties to put cancer on the agenda this federal election.”

CCS has outlined three specific recommendations that will directly support people living with cancer and also prevent more people from ever being diagnosed:

  1. Extend the Employment Insurance Sickness Benefit from 15 to 26 weeks so that people going through cancer treatment have the same amount of time off as those who care for them.
  2. Help hold the tobacco industry accountable for the damaging health effects of tobacco use by requiring that they pay Health Canada $66 million annually to recover the cost of programs to reduce tobacco use.
  3. Close the gaps in coverage for take-home cancer drugs so that all Canadians can have equal access to cancer treatment drugs, enabling them to undergo treatment in the comfort of their home.

Together these actions will help stop more cancers before they start, provide much needed support to people living with cancer and their families and establish a practical foundation to better manage the long-term impacts of cancer on our communities.

“This is a call for all party leaders to show this country their commitment to improving the lives of people impacted by cancer,” says Seale. “Canadians – including the more than 200,000 people who will be diagnosed this year alone – need to know that the next government will embrace its national responsibility to protect health, make the most of every health dollar and guarantee equitable access to cancer treatment for everyone across the country.”

What can Canadians do?

The Canadian Cancer Society is asking all Canadians to challenge party leaders by joining our campaign. It only takes 2 minutes and could impact the next 4 years of policy focused on improving the cancer experience for Canadians. Visit Together, we can be a force-for-life in the face of cancer.

Read the full election platform here.

About the Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

For more information, please contact:

Nuala McKee
Manager, Public Engagement & Advocacy Communications
Canadian Cancer Society
National Office
Phone: 416-934-5324