The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) welcomes the NDP’s key investments to support people impacted by cancer highlighted in their 2021 election platform. CCS is encouraged by specific commitments in the platform to invest in healthcare and cancer prevention initiatives, extend the EI sickness benefit, implement a tobacco manufacturer cost recovery fee, and implement a tax on e-cigarettes.
The NDP platform indicates an increase of $68 billion in health care spending over the next five years. The funds will be used to fund universal prescription drug coverage, implement national care standards for home care and long-term care, and make the Caregiver Tax Credit refundable.
“Cancer continues to be a matter of life and death during the COVID-19 pandemic; it isn’t waiting for the healthcare system to address backlogs, and it doesn’t stop being a life-changing and life-threatening disease during a global health pandemic. ,” says Kelly Masotti, Vice President of Advocacy at CCS. “Months of disruptions to cancer care have left many Canadians living with cancer scrambling, worried that they will become collateral damage of the pandemic. The NDP platform commits to a wide range of investments from caregiver supports to pharmacare that will help people facing cancer now and when the pandemic is behind us.”
The NDP platform pledges to partner with provinces, territories, municipalities and Indigenous communities to develop a national school nutrition program as well as support Indigenous food sovereignty in order to expand access to healthy food. The NDP platform also promotes active transportation like walking or cycling in community planning.
From the CCS-funded Canadian Population Attributable Risk of Cancer (ComPARe) study, we know that about 4 in 10 cancer cases can be prevented through healthy living and policies that protect the health of Canadians. Among other risk factors, the study found that about 7,600 cancer cases were due to low fruit consumption, about 3,500 cancer cases were due to low vegetable consumption and about 11,600 cancer cases were due to physical inactivity.
“Policies that strive towards food security and promote active transportation set people up for success to make healthy and informed choices about their health,” says Masotti. “These policies will have an important and positive impact on the health of communities.”
EI sickness benefits
The NDP platform pledges to increase the Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefit to 50 weeks.
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.
“Canadians undergoing cancer treatment and recovery need more time off so they can focus on their health, not their finances,” adds Masotti. “An increase in the EI sickness benefit is a welcome measure to alleviate this burden on people who are living with a disease as serious as cancer.”
The NDP platform commits to implementing a fee on tobacco companies to recover the $66 million annual cost of the federal government’s strategy to reduce tobacco use. Tobacco use causes almost 30% of all cancer deaths and is Canada’s leading preventable cause of disease and death, killing almost 48,000 Canadians every year.
“We applaud the NDP commitment to require the tobacco industry to pay the annual costs of the government’s strategy to reduce tobacco use,” says Masotti. “The tobacco companies have caused generations of Canadians to become addicted and to suffer debilitating disease and death, and as a result tobacco companies should be responsible for the cost of the government’s initiatives to curb tobacco consumption.”
The NDP platform also includes support for a tax on e-cigarettes. The Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey found that vaping among high school students in Canada in grades 10-12 increased from 9% in the 2014-15 school year, to 16% in 2016-17, and to 29% in 2018-19.
“An e-cigarette tax is fundamental and necessary to combat high rates of vaping among youth in Canada,” adds Masotti. “We support this public health measure in order to protect youth and to help prevent nicotine addiction among a new generation.”
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 NDP 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 cancer.ca today.
For more information, please contact:Nuala Mckee
Canadian Cancer Society