Pivotal funding to improve cancer care for Indigenous peoples

Over $24 million in funding will support First Nations, Inuit and Métis people living with or affected by cancer

TORONTO (June 21, 2018) – The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (the Partnership) has committed $24 million in funding until 2022 to support improved cancer outcomes by supporting action on self-determined priorities of First Nations, Inuit and Métis leaders, organizations and communities.

On this National Indigenous Peoples Day, the Partnership is working side-by-side with Indigenous leaders and those who are responsible for the delivery of cancer care services and programs. The investment of the Partnership will result in large-scale changes that deliver high-quality, culturally respectful cancer services and programs in all provinces and territories.

The reality is, many Indigenous people in Canada have not benefitted equally from the medical advances in cancer prevention and care, and as a result, have worse outcomes compared to the general population.1 In addition, care provided to First Nations, Inuit and Métis patients with cancer rarely reflects the culture, values and traditional practices which makes the cancer journey more difficult.2-4

Today’s announced funding and the new partnerships are only possible because the Partnership has invested $15 million to date in building respectful, impactful and collaborative relations with Indigenous communities across Canada.  This continues the Partnership’s ongoing commitment to fund partners and to act as the central network to reduce duplication, share best practices and support partners in working together on shared goals across Canada.

In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action and the urgent action needed to address these disparities in cancer care and outcomes for First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, the Partnership and our partners are focused on the following areas:

  • Increasing access to, and use of, screening services especially in rural and remote areas of Canada;
  • Promoting wellness and preventing cancer (e.g., smoking cessation);
  • Improving cultural supports through Indigenous patient navigation; and
  • Led by Indigenous partners, exploring opportunities to better gather and analyze Indigenous-specific cancer data through data linkage.

This program is a part of the Partnership’s ongoing work to deliver on the goals of the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control, funded by the federal government, to realize a cancer system that has equality of access and care between the most advantaged and least advantaged populations, and the reduction of disparities and improved cancer experiences by Indigenous people, for Indigenous people.


The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health

“Our Government is committed to supporting accessible, timely and patient-centred care. I want to thank the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer for its continuing efforts to increase access, for all Canadians, to high-quality cancer prevention and screening programs and enhanced treatment and care. With this initiative, I have no doubt that the Partnership and those with whom they work across Canada will positively impact the lives of First Nations, Inuit and Métis who have been touched by cancer.”

Cindy Morton, CEO, Canadian Partnership Against Cancer

“The Partnership is pleased to announce this vital funding for better cancer care for Canada’s First Nations, Inuit, and Métis on this, National Indigenous Peoples Day. Today celebrates the heritage, culture and contributions of Indigenous communities in Canada, and with this announcement we reaffirm our commitment to changing the cancer system to be more responsive to, and inclusive of, all First Nations, Inuit and Métis.”

Gail Turner, Indigenous Board Member at Large, Canadian Partnership Against Cancer

“As both a nurse and member of the Indigenous community, I have seen firsthand the disparities in care, especially as it relates to cancer. In the early years, the Partnership created a specific cancer control action plan with First Nations, Inuit and Métis which continues to guide the work. Relationships built on mutual respect are integral to the work and we are building on successes from the past ten years learning together on the journey to improve cancer care for Indigenous Canadians. The work is challenging with geography, cultural differences between, and within, Indigenous communities, but it is highly rewarding, and we continue to push for cancer care that is culturally relevant and sustainable. Every success is a step forward, that must be shared and celebrated.”

About the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer

As the steward of the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control, the Partnership works with partners to reduce the burden of cancer on Canadians. Our partner network – cancer agencies, health system leaders and experts, and people affected by cancer – brings a wide variety of expertise to every aspect of our work. After 10 years of collaboration, we are accelerating work that improves the effectiveness and efficiency of the cancer control system, aligning shared priorities and mobilizing positive change across the cancer continuum. From 2017-2022, our work is organized under five themes in our Strategic Plan: quality, equity, seamless patient experience, maximize data impact, sustainable system. The Partnership continues to support the work of the collective cancer community in achieving our shared 30-year goals: a future in which fewer people get cancer, fewer die from cancer and those living with the disease have a better quality of life. The Partnership was created by the federal government in 2006 to move the Strategy into action and receives ongoing funding from Health Canada to continue leading the Strategy with partners from across Canada. Visit www.partnershipagainstcancer.ca.


For further information please contact:

Nick Williams
Communications Officer, Media Relations
Canadian Partnership Against Cancer
416-915-9222, x5799 (office)
647-388-9647 (mobile)


1-Withrow, D., Pole J. D., Nishri, E. D, Tjepkema, M. & Marret, L. D. (2017). Cancer Survival Disparities Between First Nation and Non-Aboriginal Adults in Canada. Cancer Epideimilogy Biomarkers & Prevention. Available at: http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/26/1/145
2-Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. First Nations Cancer Control in Canada Baseline Report. 2013. Available at:

3-Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. Métis Cancer Control in Canada Baseline Report. 2013. Available at:

4-Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. Inuit Cancer Control in Canada Baseline Report. 2013. Available at: