Media Release

This federal election, the Canadian Cancer Society is taking a stand on important cancer issues


The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) is urging political party leaders to make cancer a priority this federal election by endorsing key priorities outlined in CCS’s 2021 federal election recommendations report

A focus on cancer care and prevention is especially important this election, as the country continues to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cancer doesn’t stop being a life-changing and life-threatening disease in the middle of a global health pandemic. And yet screenings, diagnostics, surgeries and appointments were disrupted, causing backlogs in cancer care that will be felt for months and years to come. Other areas of healthcare have received less attention as governments shifted focus to the current crisis, which has meant other important areas of cancer care – like palliative care, support, and prevention – have taken a back seat. This federal election, as parties develop future-focused platforms, emphasis must be placed on recovering all aspects of cancer care after they were seriously impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are facing challenges in Canada that require strong government response. Whichever leader is elected, they will need a strong roadmap forward to recover the healthcare system after nearly a year and a half of disruption, and cancer care and prevention must play a key role in that plan,” says Andrea Seale, CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society. “We now have backlogs to cancer care like never before, more than 1 million Canadians living with cancer who need better supports, and tobacco control strategies that need to be strengthened so we can continue to address the leading preventable cause of cancer”.

CCS has outlined several ways that the newly elected Government of Canada can help people living with cancer and also prevent more people from ever being diagnosed, including:

  • Restore cancer care disrupted by the pandemic to address all backlogs in cancer care from COVID-19 as well as innovating to address the influx of new or late-stage cancer diagnoses forthcoming.   
  • Commit to cancer prevention now and when the pandemic is behind us by increasing healthy living investments that make it easier to live smoke-free, keep a healthy weight, adopt a healthy diet, be physically active, be sun safe and reduce alcohol consumption.
  • Guarantee the right of all Canadians to affordable, high-quality palliative care for all, including advanced care planning, specialized pain and symptom management, and grief and bereavement support, in the setting of their choice.
  • Implement a cost recovery fee on the tobacco industry to provide full reimbursement for the $66 million annual cost of the federal tobacco control strategy. 
  • Act on the commitment to extend the Employment Insurance sickness benefit from 15 weeks to at least 26 weeks.  

Together these actions will help prevent 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 need to know that the next government will embrace its national responsibility to protect the health and wellbeing of every single one of us.”

Nearly 1 in 2 Canadians is expected to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.  By 2030 we expect to have 40% more cancer diagnoses than we did in 2015, driven largely by our ageing 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.

How you can help

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 to take action today. Every voice matters. Together, we can be a force-for-life in the face of cancer.

Read the full 2021 federal election recommendations report

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