Media Release

CCS welcomes NDP commitment to extend paid time off work for individuals undergoing cancer treatment


The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) supports the federal commitment from the New Democratic Party (NDP) to extend the Employment Insurance Sickness Benefit for those living with cancer if elected. The commitment was announced yesterday by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.

Currently, the Employment Insurance Sickness Benefit gives individuals living with cancer 15 weeks of paid time off to undergo cancer treatment while their caregivers receive 26 weeks. The NDP have committed to extending the benefit to 50 weeks.

“When Canadians face cancer, their struggle is not just medical but also financial,” says Kelly Masotti, Director, Public Issues, CCS. “An extension of the Employment Insurance Sickness Benefit would create the opportunity for people with cancer to take the time they need to receive treatment. The current benefit is not long enough for people with cancer to successfully receive treatment and re-enter the workforce.”

CCS also supports improving access to medications for Canadians, another recommendation made by the NDP, to have public universal pharmacare for all Canadians. Cancer drugs play an essential role in treatment and can greatly improve health outcomes and quality of life for people living with cancer. Specifically, CCS is looking for federal leadership in creating equity in access to take-home cancer drug for Canadians.

Later this month, CCS will be releasing a set of recommendations for all federal party leaders aimed at helping to stop more cancers before they start, providing much needed support to people who have cancer and their families and establishing a practical foundation to better manage the long-term impacts of cancer on our communities.

The Canadian Cancer Society has a long-standing history of providing a complimentary role to the healthcare system. Canadians turn to CCS for practical, emotional and psychosocial supports including information about the services available to them, such as the availability of the Sickness Benefit. With 1 in 2 Canadians expected to develop cancer in their lifetime and over 200,000 Canadians living with cancer today, federal government leadership is required to ensure that Canadians have access to the care and support they need in the setting of their choice.

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
Phone: 416-934-5324