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We fought for change and won! Top 10 highlights of our advocacy work in 2017

12 January 2018

Toronto -

Advocacy led by the Canadian Cancer Society is making a difference. We meet with local, provincial and national governments to persuade them to make the fight against cancer one of their top priorities and to develop healthier public policies.

Here are some recent advocacy wins that demonstrate our dedication to finding new and better ways to reduce cancer’s toll. We thank our donors for making this important work possible.

We’re making big strides against tobacco

We actively campaigned for a bill that would authorize tobacco plain packaging regulations and it is closer to reality. It was passed by the Senate and introduced in the House of Commons. This bill will also ban tobacco vending machines Canada-wide and regulate e-cigarettes.

More Canadians can breathe smoke-free air. It will now be possible to ban smoking at entrances to all federal government buildings, in national parks, at national historic sites and other federal places. Several provinces also had smoke-free wins this year:

  • Regina banned smoking on municipally owned golf courses
  • 73 communities in BC now have smoke-free bylaws

We worked to ensure that menthol cigarettes were banned across the country. PEI and NL banned flavoured tobacco, in addition to menthol. Menthol has been highly popular among youth.

Cigarettes will cost more. Tobacco taxes went up in BC, SK, ON, NB, YK, NWT and NU. Tobacco taxes are the single most effective way to reduce smoking.

We’re helping to stop cancer before it starts

We set the stage for all 10 provinces and 1 territory to have indoor tanning regulations prohibiting youth from using tanning beds, which cause skin cancer.

The federal government’s healthy eating strategy will help make healthy choices easier and reduce cancer risk. Proposed measures include:

  • restrictions on marketing unhealthy food and drinks to kids
  • front-of-package labelling on products that contain too much sugar, saturated fat and salt
  • updating Canada’s Food Guide

All 10 provinces and 1 territory now have HPV vaccination programs for boys! This will reduce the risk of many cancers caused by the human papillomavirus.

We’re making sure people with cancer get more support

Thanks in part to our advocacy work, the federal government introduced a new caregiver benefit to help those taking care of a gravely ill family member.

The federal government invested $11 billion over 10 years in home care, palliative care and mental health.

Nova Scotia committed to making it easier for patients to pay for the take-home cancer drugs they need. Ontario also made good progress in this area and will provide free medications for all children and youth under age 25.