Canadian Cancer Society awards Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal to Health Minister Theresa Oswald

07 February 2013

Manitoba -

Health Minister Theresa Oswald is one of 24 Canadians who are being awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal by the Canadian Cancer Society in recognition of their efforts to advance the fight against cancer.

 “This minister has presided over the most significant advancements in the cancer fight that we have seen in Manitoba in decades,’’ said Dean Schinkel, volunteer chair of the Canadian Cancer Society, Manitoba Division. “Under this minister, measures have been introduced that expand cancer coverage, improve access to treatment, reduce barriers to care and lessons the financial burden that often accompanies a cancer diagnosis.”

Carla Veldkamp, whose son Ryan was diagnosed four years ago with Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, said the 6,100 Manitoba families that will face a cancer diagnosis this year need to know that they are supported not only by the health care system but by the people who manage it too.

“Fighting cancer is tough on a family,’’ she said. “If we are going to beat this disease we need to support Manitobans fighting it and we need leaders who are prepared to help by making meaningful investments.

“We can all play a part in this fight. I am grateful for the role that this minister has played in the cancer fight here in Manitoba.”

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrates Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s sixty-year reign as Queen of Canada.  In recognition of the terrible toll that cancer takes every day, Her Majesty awarded 24 medals to the Canadian Cancer Society to recognize and celebrate the significant contributions and achievements of citizens across Canada.

The medals were created by the Royal Canadian Mint with a crowned image of the Sovereign on one side and her insignia on the reverse side.

Schinkel said the minister has been successful at bringing various groups and people together and leveraging international expertise to develop Manitoba-based solutions that improve both the access to care and the quality of care people on a cancer journey receive.

He pointed out that despite challenging economic times this government has announced more than $58 million in new cancer initiatives that will benefit Manitobans including:

  • A $40 million project to reduce the wait times from the first suspicion of cancer to a formal diagnosis and the start of treatment, from about nine months to less than eight weeks. The Manitoba Cancer Patient Journey project will ease anxiety for about 61,000 Manitobans who receive a cancer scare every year.
  • A plan to decentralize cancer treatment in Manitoba by developing regional hubs and expanding the provincial cancer centre.
  • A program to cover the cost of all cancer treatment and support drugs whether taken in a clinical setting or at home. Since it was announced 10 months ago, 6,800 Manitobans have enrolled in the Home Cancer Drug Program saving them about $5 million in Pharmacare deductibles.

“That’s $5 million that has stayed in the pockets of families battling cancer,’’ Schinkel said. “The key is to support cancer patients and their families so they can focus their energies on beating cancer.

“Whether it’s the Home Cancer Drug Program, reducing the distance to treatment or amending the Employment Standard Code to complement the new EI benefit for parents of critically ill children, these measures genuinely improve the care Manitobans on a cancer journey receive. The Canadian Cancer Society is pleased to recognize the efforts of this minister to help further our mission of eradicating cancer and enhancing the quality of life of people living with cancer.”


About the Canadian Cancer Society

For 75 years the Canadian Cancer Society has been with Canadians in the fight for life. We have been relentless in our commitment to prevent cancer, fund research and support Canadians touched by cancer. From this foundation, we will work with Canadians to change cancer forever so fewer Canadians are diagnosed with the disease and more survive. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website at or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333.

For more information, please contact:

Jason Permanand

Communications Manager

Canadian Cancer Society


Phone: 204-990-4310