2012-2013 Quebec Budget – Reaction from the CCS

21 March 2012

Montreal, QC -

Cancer is the leading cause of mortality and one of the most frequently occurring illnesses in our lives. The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) – Quebec Division had hoped that the budget would contain five important measures that would have made the fight against cancer more effective and provided greater support to people living with the disease and their families.

People affected by cancer face increasing financial challenges. “Many people have told us that the financial burden has become even more stressful than the disease itself”, states Jean-Daniel Hamelin, Director of Public Affairs at the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) – Quebec Division.

Cancer rates are expected to shoot up in the years ahead due to population aging. In his 2012-2013 budget, the minister of finance has increased the tax credit for caregivers,[1] but the CCS believes the increase is far from adequate. Accordingly, the CCS calls on the government to:

1. Make two corrective adjustments to the refundable tax credit for caregivers who provide care to an elderly spouse, as follows:

a. Reduce the age of eligibility of patients from 70 years and older to 50 years and older (88% of new cancer cases are diagnosed among people aged 50 and up).

b. Harmonize the tax credit amount with tax credits for other elements as of now ($1,000 per year).

2. Make a change in the Quebec Labour Standards Act to increase family care leave from 12 to 26 weeks.

The CCS considers that certain proven fiscal measures would help to reduce the prevalence of cancer. Accordingly, the CCS calls on the government once again to enact the following financial policies:

3. Increase taxes on tobacco to match the current taxation level in Ontario (the province with the lowest tobacco taxes with the exception of Quebec).

  • In his budget speech, the minister of finance and revenue underscored the positive results achieved in the fight against contraband tobacco. Hence, now is the perfect time to raise tobacco taxes to reduce the product’s appeal for youths.

4. Introduce and levy a specific tax on the sale of artificial tanning services.

  • In addition to its request for legislation barring access to tanning salons to minors aged less than 18 years, the CCS believes that this tax would help to deter young adults from using tanning salons, thereby leading to a reduction in the skin cancer rate.

5. Do not proceed with loan guarantees of $58 million earmarked for the asbestos industry.

  • The CCS would rather see the government provide transitional support to communities targeted by asbestos exposure reduction strategies in an effort to convert local and regional economies.

[1] The refundable tax credit for caregivers will gradually increase by $75 per year, from $700 in 2012 to $1,000 in 2016.

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:

André Beaulieu

Spokesperson and Senior Advisor, Public Relations

Canadian Cancer Society

Quebec Division

Phone: (514) 393-3444