Election race polls may be split but public support for cancer issues remains strong

28 September 2011


Tonight’s leaders’ debate included a mention of one healthcare issue that thousands of Ontarians live with every day… cancer, but the discussion stopped there. How are political parties intending to take action to prevent cancer and to help Ontarians who are living with the disease?

“Cancer touches everyone. This is an issue about which the public remains passionate,’’ says Martin Kabat, CEO, Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division in reaction to the leaders’ debate.

As part of its mission through advocacy efforts, the Society puts cancer-related issues on the political radar.

“Public policies that prevent cancer or benefit patients are issues that will always be supported by the people of Ontario,” says Kabat.

Protecting people from exposure to carcinogens, restricting youth under 18 from indoor tanning and ensuring patients have access to cancer drugs are among the Society’s election recommendations.

Here’s what Ontarians say:

Product labelling

In a Canadian Cancer Society poll[i] conducted earlier this week by Ipsos Reid, results show that 91% of Ontarians agree the next Ontario government should ensure all consumer and household products that contain known cancer-causing substances are labelled with a warning or symbol.

Indoor tanning

A March 2011 Society poll[ii] found that 83% of Ontarians support a ban on indoor tanning by youth under 18 years. The Society is calling on the next provincial government to protect the health of youth under 18 from the dangers of indoor tanning, which has been directly linked to cancer.

Equitable access to cancer drugs

A national poll[iii]conducted by the Society in September 2010 found that a large majority of Canadians — 85% — said that, if they were diagnosed with cancer, the cost of drugs would have a negative impact on their personal finances. The Society is calling on the next Ontario government to fund all drugs recommended by the experts at Cancer Care Ontario.

“Given the lessons we have learned in the fight against tobacco, we cannot wait. We are asking candidates, if elected, to make a commitment now and act on it,” says Kabat.

“The fight against tobacco has taught us how to collect support and push hard on important health issues that will change lives. If the goal is to have a healthier Ontario and reduced burden upon our healthcare system the next government should act on our recommendations now.”

The Canadian Cancer Society encourages all Ontarians to fight cancer with their vote. Before heading to the polls on October 6, people should ask their candidates where they stand and vote for the person they believe will do the most to prevent cancer and save lives. Visit www.cancer.ca/OntarioElection2011 to send local candidates the message that cancer issues matter.


[i]Ipsos Reid poll conducted between September 21 to 26, 2011 with an online sample size of 816 of Ontarians aged 18+. The estimated margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

[ii]Ipsos Reid poll conducted between June 6 to 9, 2011 with an online sample size of 822 of Ontarians aged 18+. The estimated margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

[iii]Pollara poll conducted between September 9 to 13, 2010, an online survey among a representative sample of 2,334 Canadians aged 18 and over was conducted. The margin of error typically associated with a sample of this size would be +/- 2 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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:

Justin Edmonstone

Public Affairs

Canadian Cancer Society

Ontario Division

Phone: 416-323-7026