Thaila Riden – Glengarry-Prescott-Russell – Green

Dear candidates:
Over 91,600 Ontarians will be diagnosed with cancer in 2022, and 31,000 Ontarians will die
from it in 2022.[i] Clearly, this life-threatening illness affects entire communities, especially
families, friends, and co-workers. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in delayed diagnoses
and postponed testing and surgeries, creating a public health crisis that will result in increased
mortality from late-stage cancer soon.
The government of Ontario 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. As a candidate in
the Ontario provincial election, we would like to hear from you about these issues.
The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network (CCSN) is a national network of patients, families,
survivors, friends, 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
We invite you to respond to the following questions related to cancer care and healthcare in
Ontario. Your responses will be circulated to cancer patients and survivors in Ontario and
included on our website,, and posted on our
social media.

Question 1: Recovery from COVID-19 disruption of cancer care in Ontario
If elected:
a) Will your government increase cancer screening and treatment capacity by a minimum
of 10 per cent over pre-pandemic levels starting in 2022 and continue for a period of
three years?
b) Will your government prioritize cancer surgeries to end the surgery backlog in 2022?

c) Recognizing that the postponement of cancer services causes a healthcare crisis, how
will your government ensure the continuation of cancer screening, surgeries, and

We are now facing a backlog for care, with thousands of people still waiting for health care,
support and services. It’s even more challenging for rural, remote and Northern communities,
where there were staffing shortages even before the pandemic.
With surgery backlogs and an understaffed sector, now is the time to expand a publicly funded,
publicly delivered healthcare system that is equitable, accessible, and comprehensive – for all

We will increase year-over-year hospital base operating funding to a minimum of 5% and work
with the federal government to provide surge funding to reduce the backlog in surgeries,
imaging, and other services. We will also invest in new and expanded hospitals as needed to
meet demand in high growth areas.
We plan to address the staffing shortage in a variety of ways. We will establish a nurse-led task
force to make recommendations on matters related to the recruitment, retention and safety of
nurses and immediately repeal Bill 124 and the problematic sections of Bill 106 to allow all
healthcare workers to bargain collectively for fair wages.
Increasing nursing program enrollments, supporting certification upgrades for healthcare
workers through expanded bridging programs at publicly funded post-secondary institutions and
fast-tracking credential approvals for international healthcare workers are other examples of the
approach we will take.

According to the latest data, 2022 will be the worst year for cancer deaths in Ontario due
to widespread disruptions of cancer screening resulting in delayed diagnoses,
postponed testing, surgeries, and treatment. This will result in an estimated minimum of
8,700 excess cancer deaths between 2020 to 2030, although this number will
undoubtedly be much higher since continuing delays will increase the mortality by
between six to eight per cent.
The Ontario government must prevent this from happening! Clearly, Cancer Can't Wait!

Question 2: The expansion of lung cancer screening
If elected, will your government:
a) Improve access to lung cancer screening by adding new sites in Peel, southwestern
Ontario, eastern Ontario, and northern Ontario to eliminate barriers to care?
Yes, Ontario Greens will rebalance the healthcare funding formula to ensure better access in
those areas and use incentives to bring physicians and allied health professionals to Northern
and rural communities and those communities that have traditionally been underserved. We
would also create opportunities for specialist and subspecialist trainees to undertake electives
and core rotations in the North.

b) Expand access to lung cancer screening for those who are at risk individuals who do
not currently or have never smoked, specifically including those who are determined to
have incidental pulmonary nodules?
c) Create and fund an awareness program that will encourage people to get screened for
lung cancer and help reduce the stigma associated with the disease?
Lung cancer has been the leading killer among all cancer types in our country, and for
far too long, a diagnosis of lung cancer has been a death sentence. But it doesn't have to
be this way. With new technologies, innovative medicines, and earlier diagnosis, we can
significantly improve the likelihood that lung cancer patients can become lung cancer
Question 3:
If elected to government, will your party allow women to self-refer for a mammogram,
starting at age 40?