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Financial Burden of Cancer

The financial burden of cancer has been well documented, with new cancer cases costing Canadians $3.18 billion in lost wages every year.

Canadians battling cancer and other serious medical conditions often have to borrow money from friends and family, pile up credit card debt, take out loans, or simply go under financially. Many also return to full-time employment before they are ready, because they often do not have enough financial support during the extent of their treatment. Those that do return to work early often experience lower productivity in the workplace and increased sickness-related absenteeism.

CBCN believes that no Canadian should have to experience financial devastation while battling a life-threatening illness. To address this issue, we focus our efforts on:

  1. Raising awareness of the financial burden of cancer on Canadian families.

    CBCN engages media, decision-makers, industry, and other partners to highlight the financial hardship that many Canadians experience while facing cancer, and we strive to support and promote initiatives that will reduce this burden.

  1. Reforming government income replacement programs, specifically Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits.

These programs are intended to reduce the financial burden of illness. However they are often badly out of step with the needs of Canadians affected by cancer as the eligibility requirements to qualify for sickness benefits require applicants to have worked at least 600 hours in the last 52 weeks before making a claim and the program limits benefits to a period of only 15 weeks, a duration that is far shorter than the average treatment period for many cancers.

CBCN endorses the extension of sickness benefits for a period of at least 40 weeks to provide individuals with a leg-up and a foothold at the right time, potentially saving taxpayer dollars in the long run and helping to significantly alleviate the devastating financial impact on Canadians battling cancer.

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