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The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer: Improving Cancer Outcomes Across Canada

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Not all people in Canada have equitable access to cancer care. Our national cancer strategy is working to change that.

Cancer outcomes are better when people have access to high-quality cancer prevention, screening and treatment, in addition to a spectrum of health and wellness services. However, factors like geography, socio-economic status, race and ethnicity can pose barriers to accessing these services.


The Canadian Partnership Against Canada (the Partnership) is funded by the federal government to be the steward of the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control, advancing pan-Canadian priorities based on the Strategy. To implement the Strategy, the Partnership works with partners across Canada on a broad range of initiatives – from prevention, screening, diagnosis and care to palliative care and survivorship – and helps to accelerate the uptake of new cancer advances and innovations in the healthcare system.

The Strategy, originally drafted in 2006 by a volunteer-driven coalition of cancer experts, patients and survivors, was refreshed in 2019. Following consultations with over 7,500 Canadians, the Partnership developed an ambitious 10-year (2019–2029) action plan outlining eight priorities in Canada’s cancer system. The priorities and actions are all grounded in a focus on equity and reconciliation, with a goal that all people in Canada have access to high-quality cancer care. 

Mediaplanet recently spoke with Dr. Craig Earle, CEO of the Partnership, to understand why and how health equity is key in advancing Canada’s cancer strategy.


Dr. Craig Earle

CEO, Canadian Partnership Against Cancer

How is the Partnership helping to achieve health equity for all people in Canada?

We collaborate with over 700 partners, such as cancer agencies, health ministries, Indigenous governments, organizations and communities. One area where we are especially active is with Indigenous organizations as part of our commitment to reconciliation. Since 2018, the Partnership has supported 29 partners across all 13 provinces and territories to take action on Peoples-specific, self-determined cancer priorities. Through these funded initiatives, the Partnership has invested over $24 million and engaged more than 130 Indigenous governments, organizations and community partners. More than 500 communities are expected to benefit from these projects.

We also highlight health equity through events like the national summit on the elimination of cervical cancer in Halifax and the inaugural Cancer System Equity Measurement forum in Toronto, both of which we convened in 2023.

Why is a pan-Canadian approach critical in making a meaningful difference in cancer outcomes?

Taking a pan-Canadian approach not only helps accelerate the progress being made in Canada on cancer prevention and care, it’s also a better way to share knowledge and promising practices across the many different parts of health and wellness systems that intersect with this work – from public policy to palliative care.

What are some recent success stories of your partner-driven work?

One is British Columbia introducing the new self-sampling cervical screening test for the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is the primary cause of cervical cancer. This has many positive equity implications. People without a primary care provider or who live in a remote community can still be screened, and studies have shown it’s much more acceptable to certain cultural groups and to people who have suffered sexual trauma. 

Another example is a recently announced lung cancer screening program in Nova Scotia, which will also include smoking cessation services, and was developed with deep involvement of key communities in the province. We’ve also supported the implementation of smoking cessation programs in almost all cancer centres across Canada, as evidence shows that quitting smoking can improve the effectiveness of cancer treatment, with improved survival rates and reduced side effects. 

One more initiative: introducing palliative care within the work of paramedics by training them to treat acute issues like shortness of breath or pain in the patient’s home. Doing so respects the wishes of patients who want to remain at home and not be transported to the hospital, which saves time for paramedics (an average of 31 minutes when delivering care at home versus transporting them to the emergency department) and saves money overall. This initiative, jointly funded with Healthcare Excellence Canada, has been incredibly successful. Since 2018, over 7,500 paramedics have been trained across Canada, almost 7,000 calls were received from people wishing to receive palliative care in their homes, and 92 per cent of surveyed patients and families were satisfied with the care they received from the paramedics.

A key focus for the Partnership is improving the ways in which health services are designed and delivered to a person with cancer as they navigate the health system. Jurisdictions across Canada are looking for new models of care – that is, new ways they can organize their staff, services and technology to care for patients – that will improve access, quality and outcomes for everyone, no matter their socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, or other factors.

And the Partnership has released a models of care toolkit?

Yes, the toolkit is a practical, solutions-focused resource with examples of innovation in the design and delivery of cancer care in Canada that have resulted in improvements. It looks at the exciting and innovative models of care in different provinces and territories across the country, and shares critical success factors and vital information for jurisdictions looking to implement these successful, evidence-informed approaches.

With continued investment and support in initiatives like these, we believe we can achieve the priorities and goals outlined in our national cancer strategy, and make Canada a leader when it comes to cancer prevention and care.

For more information about the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, visit

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