Society applauds increased support for caregivers in federal budget

21 April 2015

Toronto -

The Canadian Cancer Society applauds the government for extending compassionate care benefits in today’s federal budget, calling it a critical step towards ensuring family caregivers in Canada get the financial support they need.
“Every day we hear from Canadians who are juggling professional and personal responsibilities because of caregiving,” says Pamela Fralick, President and CEO, Canadian Cancer Society. “Expanding the compassionate care benefit will benefit cancer patients, their families, and our healthcare system. It will enable more Canadians to receive care at home and reduce costly hospital stays, while providing badly needed financial security for families touched by cancer.”

The budget significantly extends the amount of time caregivers can spend with gravely ill family members from the current 6 weeks to 6 months. “An improved compassionate care benefit allows family caregivers to take time off work in order to provide care and support for a critically ill loved one,” says Fralick. The vast majority of caregivers (89%) spend at least 1 year providing care.

“Cancer patients and their families shouldn’t have to worry about their jobs or their incomes, but the reality is that every year cancer costs Canadians about $3 billion in lost wages,” said Gabriel Miller, Director, Public Issues, Canadian Cancer Society.

The Canadian Cancer Society congratulates the government for this important commitment which will make the lives of family caregivers easier. Supporting family caregivers is a critical step toward guaranteeing all Canadians have access to proper palliative care. About 80% of Canadians requiring palliative care are cancer patients.

The Society urges the federal government to build on today’s commitment by working with provinces and territories to ensure that Canadians can access the palliative care and support they need, when it's needed.

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website www.cancer.ca or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

For more information, please contact:

Christine Harminc

Senior Manager, Communications & Media Relations

Canadian Cancer Society

Phone: 416 934-5340