Addressing priority cancer control gaps with and for First Peoples

First time collaborations to improve the cancer experience for patients in rural, remote and isolated communities

First Nations, Inuit and Métis artwork, "Working Together"TORONTO — Today, partners from across First Nations, Inuit and Métis organizations, the health sector and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer met to launch a new initiative to improve cancer control with and for First Peoples. While cancer affects everyone, rates of common cancers have increased among First Nations, Inuit and Métis in the past few decades and in some populations are now at or above those in the general Canadian population. The new initiative will help reduce the cancer burden for these communities and improve the experience for patients.

“This new initiative demonstrates how partners can come together to address common health and cancer goals as well as helping to improve culturally responsive cancer care for First Nations, Inuit and Métis people,” said the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Health. “I look forward to seeing the positive impact of this work in and beyond these communities for years to come.”

The Partnership works closely with First Nations, Inuit and Métis and cancer service providers to advance culturally relevant and people-specific cancer control initiatives that best reflect their needs and priorities. This includes investments to improve the quality of the cancer journey for First Nations, Inuit and Métis patients residing in rural, remote and isolated communities in nine jurisdictions. It will also help us form a better understanding of the cancer experience from a patient’s perspective, which includes cultural and geographic considerations.

The 3.5 year projects will focus on the cancer journey from diagnosis to transitions in care to an individual’s home community. They will span across the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Québec, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador. For some of these jurisdictions, these projects represent foundational work to build cancer control strategies specific to First Peoples, and for others they will further enhance existing efforts. In addition, they will help to lay the foundation for addressing other health concerns for these communities. Without these collaborations, this important work to advance cancer control with and for First Peoples on a large scale, may not have been possible.

“It has been impressive to see so many partners from  First Nations, Inuit and Métis organizations and the health sector come together  to address key cancer care issues  for First Peoples,” said Lee Fairclough, VP of Strategy, Knowledge Management and Delivery at the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. “Evidence shows that there are differences in cancer incidence and care for First Peoples. What we’ve heard from these communities supports this and it is clear that patients and health providers are experiencing challenges across all jurisdictions.  This collaborative approach will help us learn from one another and identify common solutions to improve the cancer experience.”

The initiative will help to build and maintain connections through a network that will bring people from across the country together to benefit from each other’s experiences and tackle common challenges. The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer is investing a total of $10.2 million in the implementation of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Cancer Control Initiative.

This initiative is part of a broader strategy stemming from the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Action Plan on Cancer Control. Released in 2011, this plan represented a collaborative effort by the many organizations and individuals working to improve cancer outcomes among First Peoples in Canada. Informed by First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners and the cancer control community, the plan outlined where the Partnership is best positioned to advance cancer control for and with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

For more information on First Nations, Inuit and Métis cancer control, please see the action plan.


For more information, please contact:

Lenore Bromley
(416) 915-9222

About the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer

The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer works with Canada’s cancer community to reduce the burden of cancer on Canadians. Grounded in and informed by the experiences of those affected by cancer, the organization works with partners to support multi-jurisdictional uptake of evidence that will help to optimize cancer control planning and drive improvements in quality of practice across the country. Through sustained effort and a focus on the cancer continuum, the organization supports the work of the collective cancer community in achieving long-term population outcomes:  reduced incidence of cancer, less likelihood of Canadians dying from cancer, and an enhanced quality of life of those affected by cancer.