CARP spearheads campaign to make Ontario cancer scandal an election issue

Province ranks among the worst in the country for access to newer cancer care.

CARP has joined forces with a new grass-roots cancer patients coalition to make Ontario’s abysmal record on cancer funding an issue in the provincial election on October 10th.

— Ontario is the second worst province in the country in terms of providing access to newer intravenous cancer drugs and therapy. Of 24 drugs, BC, the leader, fully funds 20, while Ontario fully funds only 4.

— Ontario is the worst province in the country in terms of providing access to PET scans. Quebec, the leader, funded 208 PET scans per 100,000 population in 2006, while Ontario funded only 6 per 100,00.

“We demand parity with the best,” said Antonia Codispoti and Hilda Mackow, founders of the Ontario Citizens Cancer Coalition. “British Columbia leads in access to new cancer drugs; Quebec leads in access to scans. It is shocking that Ontario is second from the bottom – and we intend to use the upcoming election campaign to place this issue front and centre.”

CARP hosted a meeting of cancer groups and volunteers at the CARP offices in Toronto on September 6. A press conference is planned for the Ontario legislature building on September 18. Prior to that, a letter is being sent to the leaders of the three major political parties, demanding that they promise to bring Ontario to the same level of funding as the leaders.

“Cancer affects the lives of everyone and access to cancer care is an extremely important issue,” said Holly Vengroff, Director of External Relations of CARP, Canada’s Association for the Fifty-Plus. “Our ‘No More Waiting’ campaign has created a higher level of awareness on the need to improve our health care system.

Now, with an Ontario election scheduled for October 10, we have an opportunity to make our demands for better cancer care heard at the ballot box.” The statistics, ranking all of Canada’s provinces, are available at the No More Waiting web site,

There is also an online petition.

Even though the issue directly affects only Ontario residents, CARP hopes that members in other provinces will visit the web site to see how their own province stacks up, and use the CARP E-Voice e-mail system to send a message to their own elected representatives.

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