Thank you for your questions. As a candidate for the Green Party of Canada and as a cancer survivor, whose partner is a cancer survivor, I appreciate the opportunity to answer.
Question 1: Cancer Can’t Wait: COVID-19 disruption of cancer care in Canada
A. Provide transfer payments to the provinces to be used to deal with the backlog of tests, procedures, and surgeries? YES
B. Encourage the governments of provinces and territories to include the continuation of essential cancer care in planning for future crises and pandemics? YES
C. Ensure that the Public Health Agency of Canada takes cancer patients’ need for dependable access to medical care into account in their plans and recommendations for future pandemics? YES
Question 2: Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits
A. Recognize that there is a need for a new process that acknowledges that some patients, including cancer patients, experience extended periods of treatment and recovery, and hold open consultations with Canadians about how this process will be developed and implemented? YES
B. Use the results of these consultations to lengthen sickness benefits for Canadians undergoing treatment for cancer as well as other serious illnesses that require long periods of treatment or recovery so that Canadians who are ill are not penalized by the current limit of 15 weeks of sickness benefits? YES
C. Cancel the two-week waiting period for EI Sickness Benefits so that sick Canadians are not penalized? YES
Question 3: Breast Cancer Screening
A. Place a moratorium on the use of the 2018 guidelines and create a new Task Force which incorporates relevant expert opinion? YES
B. Ensure that the flawed process and lack of accountability of the Task Force be reviewed and revised to align with international guidelines and methodology standards? YES
C. Ensure that future guideline panels include content experts and patients? YES
D. Create a new Task Force which accurately incorporates relevant expert opinion? YES
It is very clear to me that the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network, along with a large number of other NGOs, need more attention, more funding, and more support than promises from politicians at election time once every two to four years. Because of the overlap of jurisdictions, Federal and Provincial, and because of the bureaucracy at every level of government, the very important work you are doing is hampered. Governments are all too happy to let NGOs carry the many burdens they do and take on duties and responsibilities that should be handled by the state.
In light of the many requests for support I’m getting, from many truly deserving NGOs I feel there should be a separate government department created for the express purpose of supporting NGOs and cutting red tape. The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network shouldn’t have to apply to the Minister of Health, the Minister of Labour, or the Minister Responsible for Housing (oh, wait there is none) in an effort to make the lives of Cancer patients and survivors, and their families, easier.