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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer?
  2. What is cancer control?
  3. Why do we need a national strategy for cancer control?
  4. Do other countries have similar cancer strategies?
  5. How will the Partnership improve cancer outcomes in Canada?
  6. Does the Partnership work with other cancer organizations?
  7. How can I get involved with cancer control efforts?
  8. What is the history of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer?
  9. How is the Partnership funded?
  10. Is the Partnership a federal government agency?
  11. What happens to Canada’s national cancer control strategy after the second five-year funding commitment to the Partnership is complete?
  12. Aren’t there already a lot of cancer organizations? What is different about the Partnership?
  13. How does the Partnership set its priorities?
  14. What are the Partnership’s main achievements?
  15. How does the Partnership support Aboriginal communities?
  16. How does the Partnership share information about the impact of the strategy?
  17. How does the Partnership measure its performance?
  18. Does the Partnership have a Board of Directors?
  19. What is the focus of the Board of Directors?
  20. Does the Partnership compensate the Board of Directors?
  21. What are your procurement policies for vendors?
  22. What led to the Partnership being funded for a second mandate?
  23. What are the Partnership’s plans for the mandate that began in April 2012?
  24. How does the Partnership’s work benefit Canadians?
  25. How can I contact the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer?


1. What is the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer?

The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer works with Canada’s cancer community to reduce the burden of cancer through co-ordinated system-level change. Grounded in and informed by the experiences of those most affected by cancer, the organization plays a unique role working with partners to support multi-jurisdictional uptake of the knowledge emerging from cancer research and best practices in order to optimize cancer control planning and drive improvements in quality of practice across the country. Partners include provincial and territorial cancer programs; federal organizations and agencies; First Nations, Inuit and Métis organizations; national health and patient organizations; and individual experts who provide strategic cancer control perspectives and advice from both patient and professional perspectives.

Through sustained effort and a focus on the full cancer continuum from prevention and treatment through to survivorship and end-of-life care, the Partnership supports the collective work of the broader cancer control community in achieving long-term outcomes that will have a direct impact on the health of Canadians: reduced incidence of cancer, less likelihood of Canadians dying from cancer, and an enhanced quality of life of those affected by cancer. The Partnership is funded by Health Canada.

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2. What is cancer control?

Cancer control involves the entire population. It is not limited to those who have been diagnosed with cancer and are being treated within the cancer-care system. Rather, cancer control spans prevention, screening and early detection, clinical and patient-centred care, cancer guidelines, research and surveillance (the gathering and analysis of data related to cancer).

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3. Why do we need a national strategy for cancer control?

While there have been improvements, cancer remains a significant health challenge due to its prevalence, complexity and gravity:  approximately 1 in 2 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer and 1 in 4 will die from it, making it the leading cause of death.1 At the same time, advances in cancer screening, early detection and treatment have resulted in people living longer with cancer, and an increased number of cancer survivors.

Against the backdrop of Canada’s federated health model, where provinces and territories are responsible for planning and delivering cancer care, the significant burden of cancer means that it is too complex for any one organization or jurisdiction to tackle alone. Since 2002, the World Health Organization has been urging countries to develop national cancer control programs as the best means for reducing the incidence and impact of cancer and improving the quality of life for those with the disease.

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4.   Do other countries have similar cancer strategies?

The United KingdomAustraliaNew ZealandIreland and France are among the countries that have national cancer control strategies.

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5. How will the Partnership improve cancer outcomes in Canada?

The Partnership’s role is to increase efficiencies and accelerate cancer control in Canada. It does this by convening, integrating, catalyzing and brokering knowledge to improve partners’ ability to make good decisions, act more quickly, and do more with less. In the long-term, with sustained effort, this will help to reduce the incidence of cancer, lessen the likelihood of Canadians dying from cancer and enhance the quality of life for those affected by cancer. 

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6. Does the Partnership work with other cancer organizations?

The Partnership works with cancer patients and survivors, whose perspectives inform the collaborative work taking place, as well as provincial and territorial cancer programs; federal organizations and agencies; national health organizations; and First Nations, Inuit and Métis organizations.

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7. How can I get involved with cancer control efforts?

Opportunities within the Partnership are posted on the Partnership website and publicly advertised as needs arise. Additionally, please consider working directly with partner organizations, for example by volunteering with the Canadian Cancer Society or a member organization of the Canadian Cancer Action Network. Other opportunities to get involved include participating in the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project, the largest health study of its kind in Canada, or by encouraging friends and family to get screened for cancer.

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8. What is the history of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer?

The Partnership is the steward of the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control.  This vision to reduce the burden of cancer in Canada was developed over a decade by stakeholders who advocated the federal government for its funding. The Partnership opened its doors in 2007 with an initial five year mandate to implement the strategy, and is now in its second five-year mandate ending in 2017.  

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9. How is the Partnership funded?

The Partnership is funded by the federal government through Health Canada. Funding during the Partnership’s first mandate (2007-12) totalled $250 million; funding for the Partnership’s second mandate, from 2012-17, totals $241 million.

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10. Is the Partnership a federal government agency?

While the Partnership receives federal funding, it operates at arm’s length from government. It is accountable to Health Canada through a funding agreement, and the federal government has representation on its Board of Directors.

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11. What happens to Canada’s national cancer control strategy after the second five-year funding commitment to the Partnership is complete?

Working with the broader cancer community, the Partnership has identified a set of measurable and concrete outcomes by the end of its second mandate in 2017 that will set the stage for increased system-level impact. Over subsequent decades the coordinated efforts of Canada’s cancer community will result in fewer people diagnosed with and dying of cancer, and a better quality of life for those diagnosed with the disease.

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12. Aren’t there already a lot of cancer organizations? What is different about the Partnership?

While cancer care is a key part of each province and territory’s health programs, and Canada has many cancer charities and research organizations working to improve outcomes, the Partnership is the only organization with a national focus on the full cancer control continuum – from prevention through to palliative care. The benefit of an organization like the Partnership is its role in bringing together other organizations that make up Canada’s cancer community to work together on shared priorities – making progress faster and more cost-effective than if they were working separately. 

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13. How does the Partnership set its priorities?

The Partnership’s work is guided by its 2012-17 strategic plan, which is an evolution of the foundational document that led to the creation of the Partnership in 2007. The 2012-17 strategic plan was developed following consultation with the broader cancer community and identifies areas for shared effort over the course of the Partnership’s second mandate.

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14. What are the Partnership’s main achievements?

In its first mandate from 2007 to 2012, the Partnership focused on strategic initiatives with the greatest potential for impact within this five-year window. The progress made during this time period was a direct result of the broader cancer control community’s efforts and is summarized on our Key Achievements page.

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15. How does the Partnership support Aboriginal communities?

Working with national Aboriginal organizations, cancer agencies, the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, the Public Health Agency of Canada and others the Partnership is building on innovative work by Canada’s First Peoples to improve cancer control among these communities. The Partnership recently facilitated the development of a First Nations, Inuit and Métis Action Plan on Cancer Control in collaboration with an Advisory Committee that includes First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, patients, and representatives from cancer agencies, government, and organizations involved in cancer control and chronic disease prevention.

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16. How does the Partnership share information about the impact of the strategy?

The Partnership regularly shares information about work underway and the positive impact of the cancer strategy. This information is available on the home page and via the monthly e-Bulletin. Other documents available for more detailed information include the annual report and other corporate publications, System Performance Reports, and performance and accountability documents including highlights from Board meetings, reports from evaluations and audits, and a summary of our 2012 Targets.  

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17. How does the Partnership measure its performance?

The Partnership takes a multifaceted approach to performance management that includes its performance measurement strategy, regular evaluation of progress towards its goals, and other internal mechanisms to enable an ongoing focus on outcomes.  Developed with input from and review by key partners, notably provincial cancer agencies and programs and the Canadian Cancer Society, the organization’s performance measurement strategy identifies specific and measurable outcomes the Partnership is working to achieve, with its partners, by the end of its second mandate in 2017. With sustained effort beyond 2017, these outcomes will translate into broader impact in support of our collective long-term cancer control goals.

Additional mechanisms in place to evaluate the Partnership’s performance on an ongoing basis include: 

  • An independent third-party evaluation conducted every mandate (5 years) to measure the overall performance of the Partnership in achieving the outcomes identified in the national cancer control strategy.  An independent evaluation was conducted in 2010 and the next independent evaluation will be conducted in 2015.
  • An annual audit of financial statements by an independent auditor in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. This is made available to the public in the Annual Report, which is another means the organization reports on its progress.
  • A corporate plan that is submitted annually to Health Canada.

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18. Does the Partnership have a Board of Directors?

The Partnership’s Board of Directors is highly engaged in the Partnership’s work and is a key mechanism for overseeing the organization’s accountability to Canadians. Reflecting the diversity of stakeholders in the cancer community, the Board of Directors includes federal and provincial government appointees, regional representatives, policy experts and leaders in cancer control, representatives from the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Association of Provincial Cancer Agencies, and individuals providing expertise, perspectives and insights from the patient, survivor and Aboriginal communities. Highlights of Board meetings are available online.

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19. What is the focus of the Board of Directors?

The Partnership’s Board of Directors is responsible for the overall governance of the organization including strategic leadership and direction, monitoring and assessing performance, financial oversight, and oversight of management.  The Board meets four times per year and has the following sub-committees: Executive, Performance, Finance & Audit, Human Capital and Governance & Nominating. From time to time, the Board creates ad-hoc or time-limited oversight committees to ensure more detailed reviews of progress monitoring and risk management through planning and implementation. The Board appoints an external auditor annually and receives the auditor’s report to ensure that best financial practices are observed. Highlights of Board meetings are made publicly available.  

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20. Does the Partnership compensate the Board of Directors?

Compensation for members of the Board of Directors is based on positions held, such as Chair, Vice Chair or subcommittee membership and attendance at meetings. Government-appointed directors who are employed by federal/provincial governments receive no remuneration.

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21. What are your procurement policies for vendors?

The Partnership has a procurement policy identifying the principles and requirements used in procuring goods and services that are paid for by the Partnership whether directly or indirectly. Given that the Partnership is a federally-funded organization, its procurement policy provides a mechanism for probity and accountability and for demonstrating value for money in how taxpayer dollars are used.

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22. What led to the Partnership being funded for a second mandate?

The successes of the Partnership during its first mandate are captured in the Key Achievements area of the website and include improving cancer prevention efforts and early diagnosis, better collaboration in cancer research and support to patients in the cancer journey, and improved reporting on how the cancer system is doing. These successes, which support a better quality cancer system and is critical to improving consistency and coordination across the entire cancer system, were supported by two thorough evaluations, which confirmed that the Partnership  is an effective model for implementing the cancer strategy in Canada.

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 23. What are the Partnership’s plans for the mandate that began in April 2012?

The Partnership’s five-year strategic and business plans, which were developed after significant consultation with the cancer community to ensure the Partnership is aligned with their priorities, build on the Partnership’s successes from 2007 to 2012 and identify new areas for exploration. Sustaining Action Toward a Shared Vision is available on the website. 

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 24. How does the Partnership’s work benefit Canadians?

The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer is focused on reducing the burden of cancer on Canadians.  While a cancer strategy alone will not cure cancer, it does provide a clear plan and a set of actions that will build on the strengths of Canada’s cancer system and patient communities. Inherent in a strategy is the concept of making conscious and informed choices about using resources to achieve the maximum impact for the whole population.

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25. How can I contact the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer?

The Partnership can be contacted by mail, email or fax.

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1Statistics Canada. Leading Causes of Death in Canada, 2006: Highlights. Retrieved November 30, 2010, from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/84-215-x/2010000/hl-fs-eng.htm.