Cancer is a stark reality for Canadians. Every day, nearly 700 Canadians will receive the life-changing news that they have cancer. The need for effective cancer action plans is undeniably urgent.

A well-implemented Provincial cancer action plan is essential for improving the lives of Canadians diagnosed with cancer. Engaging those most affected in the development of these plans ensures that we meet their needs and achieve significantly better outcomes.

The path to the best cancer care for Canadians begins with strong provincial action plans. 

A provincial cancer action plan is a strategic framework developed by governments to guide efforts in cancer prevention, treatment, and care. A comprehensive plan must include clear patient care roadmaps, adequate funding allocation, established key performance indicators, and governance structures to ensure plans are successful. Well-defined elements as these are important and even more so is creating these plans through active engagement with patients, their families, caregivers, community representatives, and patient advocacy organizations. It is of the utmost importance that patients have a clear understanding of their position in the treatment continuum.

Provincial Cancer plans today – inconsistencies across the country

While some provinces and territories have recently updated or created multi-year cancer action plans, some of these plans have now expired or require updates and optimizations. Other provinces are currently working on their first actions. All of this is important progress that needs to continue to ensure Canadian’s receive the best outcomes possible. 

Recently, British Columbia introduced a ten year cancer action plan, which focuses on four key strategies:

  1. Preventing and detecting cancer
  2. Ensuring timely access to treatment
  3. Working in partnership across the cancer care system
  4. Investing in the system enablers, including health-care professionals, information management and technology, and capital infrastructure

“The earlier cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome. Provinces and Territories offer varying degrees of organized screening programs for cancers like breast, cervical, colorectal and lung with some jurisdictions leading the charge and others lagging behind. Premiers are at a pivotal moment where decisions made today to improve screening programs will fundamentally shape the health of people in Canada in the years to come. More needs to be done to expand equitable access, especially for communities that are underserved, and those without access to a primary care provider.” 

Dr. Stuart Edmonds, Executive Vice President, Mission, Research and Advocacy, Canadian Cancer Society.


For CANADIANS – Raise Awareness and Demand Action

  • Spread the word on social media about the importance of strong provincial cancer action plans by using #CancerPlanNow, sharing our campaign and sharing your story.
  • Contact your government representatives and ask “where are we with our Province’s cancer action plan?”
  • Engage or Volunteer: Volunteer with us or join one of our Advisory Councils. Find your local Cancer Care Centre.
  • Keep in touch: Sign up for our newsletter to get updates straight to your inbox. 

For GOVERNMENT – Make Cancer a Priority!

  • Prioritize Comprehensive Cancer Action Plans: ensure your province has a robust cancer action plan in place that prioritizes the cancer patient journey.
  • Engage with Advocacy Groups: Collaborate with patient advocacy groups to incorporate patient perspectives into cancer action plan policymaking.
  • Promote Funding: Allocate resources to improve vital cancer care infrastructure and remove the burden of cancer care for Canadians.