Media Release

CCS reacts to Conservative Party platform for 2021 federal election


The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) is pleased with the Conservative Party platform’s key investments to support people impacted by cancer highlighted in their 2021 election platform. CCS applauds specific commitments in the platform to invest in palliative care, extend the EI sickness benefit and implement a tobacco manufacturer cost recovery fee.  


“Cancer continues to be a matter of life and death during the COVID-19 pandemic and every level of government has a role to play in restoring our health care system from pandemic disruptions,” says Kelly Masotti, Vice President of Advocacy at CCS. “We welcome the Conservative commitment to meet with the Premiers within their first 100 days in office to discuss health care funding. A top priority of this discussion must be working in collaboration with provinces to restore cancer care disrupted by the pandemic to address all backlogs in care as well as a plan to address any influx of new or late-stage cancer diagnoses.” 

A CCS-led survey in July 2020 of people with cancer and caregivers found that almost half (47%) of patients reported having their cancer care appointments cancelled or postponed. Since the start of the pandemic, it is estimated that global cancer diagnoses dropped by a stunning 40%. We know that when cancer is found and treated early, the chances of survival are higher. A Canadian and United Kingdom-led study published in the British Medical Journal showed that a 4-week delay in cancer treatment increased the risk of death by about 10% in some cancers. 

EI sickness benefits

The Conservative platform pledges to increase the EI sickness benefit to 52 weeks for those suffering from a serious illness, like cancer.  

The average length of treatment for people with breast and colon cancer—two of the most commonly diagnosed cancers for Canadians—ranges between 26 and 37 weeks.

“When Canadians face cancer, too often the challenges they face are not just medical, but also financial,” adds Masotti. “An increase in the EI sickness benefit will go a long way towards reducing the financial stress of people impacted by cancer and allow them to focus on getting well.”

Palliative care

CCS welcomes the commitment to double federal funding for palliative care. Palliative care focuses on the quality of life of people who have a progressive, life-limiting illness. It includes pain and symptoms management, skilled psychosocial, emotional and spiritual support and comfortable living conditions with the appropriate level of care. 

“Everyone in Canada should have access to affordable, culturally safe, high-quality palliative care from the point of diagnosis, regardless of where they live and in what setting they choose to receive care,” says Masotti. “We welcome the Conservative Party commitment to double funding for palliative care and look forward to working with them to ensure this investment leads to equitable access to the palliative care that people deserve

Tobacco control

The Conservative Party platform includes a commitment to require tobacco companies to reimburse the federal government for the $66 million annual cost of the government’s tobacco control strategy. This measure deserves strong support. Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease and death in Canada, killing almost 48,000 Canadians annually, including about 30% of cancer deaths.

“We commend the commitment to implement an annual cost recovery fee on tobacco manufacturers,” says Masotti. “The tobacco industry has caused unprecedented damage to the health of Canadians over decades and should pay for the cost of the government’s strategy to reduce tobacco consumption.”

The United States federal government has had a tobacco cost recovery fee in place since 2009. CCS supports this commitment to have the same measure in place in Canada.

In August, CCS released a set of recommendations for all political parties to adopt that will directly support people living with cancer and also prevent more people from ever being diagnosed. Read the full 2021 federal election recommendations report here. CCS welcomes Conservative platform commitments that align with these priorities.  

About the Canadian Cancer Society 

The Canadian Cancer Society works tirelessly to save and improve lives. We fund the brightest minds in cancer research. We provide a compassionate support system for all those affected by cancer, from coast to coast and for all types of cancer. As the voice for Canadians who care about cancer, we work with governments to establish health policies to prevent cancer and better support those living with the disease. No other organization does all that we do to improve lives today and to change the future of cancer forever. 

Help us make a difference. Call 1-888-939-3333 or visit today. 

For more information, please contact: 

Nuala Mckee
Canadian Cancer Society