Media Release

Newfoundland and Labrador budget includes significant gains for cancer community


The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) is pleased to see several important measures introduced in today’s provincial budget that will help prevent cancer and support those living with the disease. Key measures include an increase in tobacco taxes of $6.00 per carton of 200 cigarettes and a tax on sugar sweetened beverages.  The budget also invests close to $10 million for the medical transportation assistance program to support previously announced program expansion measures.

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in Newfoundland and Labrador and in Canada, killing 45,000 Canadians annually, including about 30% of all cancer deaths. “Increasing tobacco taxes is the most effective strategy available to reduce youth smoking,” says Kelly Wilson Cull, Director of Advocacy at the Canadian Cancer Society. “Most smokers begin as teenagers, which is why it is essential to prevent youth from ever starting to smoke. The tobacco tax increase in the budget will have an important health impact to reduce smoking, prevent cancer and save lives.”

Newfoundland and Labrador is the second province in Canada to introduce a tax on sugar sweetened beverages.  “We strongly support measures announced by the NL government to implement a provincial sales tax on sugary drinks,” says Wilson Cull. “Taxation is an effective and evidence-based strategy to reduce consumption and use.”  Excess sugar intake is linked to excess weight, which increases the risk of at least 11 different cancers. 

Budget 2021 also includes a $10 million investment in the medical transportation assistance program.  This additional funding will support program expansion measures which were previously announced in January 2021.  For the thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians living with cancer, the cost of medical-related travel and accommodations is a huge financial burden, and a barrier to accessing cancer treatment.  “Increasing funding for the medical transportation assistance program is a strong start and will have a positive impact on the lives of those living with cancer,” says Wilson Cull. “CCS will continue to advocate that government work to reduce red tape and barriers to accessing this critical program.”

About the Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) is the only national charity that supports Canadians with all cancers in communities across the country. No other organization does what we do; we are the voice for Canadians who care about cancer. We fund groundbreaking research, provide a support system for all those affected by cancer and shape health policies to prevent cancer and support those living with the disease.

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

For more information, please contact:

Nuala Mckee
Canadian Cancer Society