CCSN: Questions to Parties and Candidates

Dear Candidate/Party,

Nearly 1 in 2 Canadians is expected to be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetime.  It was estimated that in 2017 alone, 206,200 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in Canada.[1] This includes 6,700 people in Manitoba, with approximately 2,900 dying of cancer each year. Clearly, this life-threatening illness affects entire communities, especially families, friends and co-workers.

The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network (CCSN) is a national network of patients, families, survivors, friends, families, community partners and sponsors. Its mission is to work together by taking action to promote the very best standard of care, support, follow up and quality of life for patients and survivors. It aims to educate the public and policy makers about cancer survivorship and encourage research on ways to alleviate barriers to optimal cancer care in Canada.

Healthcare is important to Manitobans, and the government of Manitoba has an important role to play in making sure that everyone diagnosed with cancer has timely access to cancer care and essential medical services as well as access to emergency rooms and the treatment and medications they need.

We invite you to respond to the following questions related to cancer care and healthcare in Manitoba. Your responses will be circulated to cancer patients, caregivers and survivors in Manitoba and posted on our website, and on our social media.

Question 1: National Pharmacare

The Moving Forward on Implementing National Pharmacare Report () calls for the creation of the Canadian Drug Agency, a new agency that would take a coordinated approached to assessing effectiveness and negotiating prescription drug prices; a national formulary; and a national strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases.

If elected to government, will your party:

  1. Support a National Pharmacare program by joining the Canadian Drug Agency?
  2. How would your government ensure that a National Pharmacare program will not reduce the number of prescription medicines available to patients?

Question 2: Tobacco Control

According to the No Manitoban Left Behind: Manitoba Tobacco Reduction Report Card,[2] “Manitoba has some strengths in tobacco control… However, shortcomings…are stifling progress in tobacco reduction.”

If elected to government, will your party:

  1. Develop and implement a comprehensive tobacco framework that includes public education, policy and legislation, cessation programs, taxation and community/school programs, as included in the Summary Areas of Improvement listed in the No Manitoban Left Behind report?
  2. Implement a social responsibility fee on the tobacco industry similar in design to the fee required by the US FDA, with funds collected used to update programming to reduce tobacco use?

Question 3: Breast Density

Over 40% of women over the age of 40 have dense breasts. Having dense breasts can make it more difficult for radiologists to detect cancer because dense breast tissue and cancer both appear white on a mammogram, creating a masking effect. As well, dense breasts increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. Women need to know their breast density so they can be proactive and mitigate their risk of a later stage diagnosis. 

If elected to government, will your party:

  1. Commit to notifying ALL women of their breast density in their mammogram results letter?
  2. Commit to raising public awareness and education on breast density?

Question 4: Palliative Care

Manitobans live longer today than they used to, and they are becoming increasingly aware that the quality of life during those additional years is what really matters. Better advanced care planning and earlier integration of palliative care into the continuum of care in Manitoba would help avoid unnecessary and costly use acute care while providing enhanced quality of life for aging Manitobans. This will require an intentional focus on system-wide changes.

If elected to government, will your party:

  1. Provide specific dollars to support organizations and healthcare teams implementing palliative care programming, including increasing the number of residential hospice care beds in the province?
  2. Increase the number of healthcare providers and services that focus on palliative care in the community and rural settings?
  3. Legislate changes to allow patients simultaneous access to both the Palliative Care Drug Access Program and the Home Cancer Drug program to allow seamless transition at end of life?

Question 5: Manitoba All-Party Cancer Caucus

If elected as an MLA, would you be interested in serving on the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network’s Manitoba All-party Cancer Caucus? The caucus will meet yearly and study issues vital to cancer patients and caregivers in Manitoba. Please respond ‘yes’ if interested.


We thank you for your attention to these important matters.


Yours sincerely,
Jackie Manthorne

Canadian Cancer Survivor Network in collaboration with:
Canadian Cancer Society (Prairies)
Dense Breasts Canada
Manitoba Health Coalition

[1] Canadian Cancer Society,

[2] Prepared for the Government of Manitoba by the Canadian Cancer Society, the Manitoba Tobacco Reduction Alliance (MANTRA), the Lung Association, Manitoba, and the Heart & Stroke Foundation, Manitoba