With lower donations, Canadian Cancer Society’s new management team had to cut costs in all areas. 

“We really pushed ourselves to look at the organization differently and really re-examine every type of cost”, said Sara Oates, executive vice-president, finance and operations on behalf of CCS’s management team.1  Across the board, Canadian Cancer Society trimmed and consolidated, reducing total operating costs by a whopping $67 million. Canadian Cancer Society shed 29% of its costs from its 2016 operations. 

Here's where the cost savings came from:

Administration was reduced from $28.4 million to $5.5 million. Here is where the largest cuts were made. CCS reduced its leased space by 15%, consolidating its finance, human resources and management, significantly reducing its cost structure.

Cancer programs were trimmed by $16.5 million to $51.4 million. CCS has a bricks and mortar network of branches across Canada. More people with cancer are turning to CCS’s website for information, on-line support groups, and signing up for cancer treatment rides and fundraising runs. CCS closed 27 of its branches, maintaining its national reach with 65 branches. Some staff who worked at these branches will now work from home.

Fundraising costs were reduced by $14.9 million to $52.8 million. CCS centralized marketing, donor services and communications creating a lower cost structure. Even at this lower cost base of $52.8 million, CCS still spends more on fundraising each year than Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, BC Cancer Foundation, Cancer Research Society, Terry Fox Foundation, and Movember put together.

Research grants were least affected, cut by $8.1 million to $48.9 million. Advocacy work is a minor program that was cut by more than half to $3.3 million.

The cuts resulted in a 24% reduction in full-time staff, resulting in 260 estimated layoffs, bringing the total payroll to below 800.

Kate Bahen

July 10, 2018


Read more Charity Intelligence reports on Canadian Cancer Society:

Donor report on Canadian Cancer Society, updated July 4, 2018

Teaching an elephant to dance: Canadian Cancer Society cuts $67 million in costs, updated July 10, 2018

Setting the record straight: all the facts on fundraising relative to research grants, updated July 10, 2018

Mega cancer charity merger: Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation to merge with Canadian Cancer Society, October 28, 2016

Cancer in Canada, indepth report looking at cancer, identifying 4 underfunded cancers that have the highest toll on Canada: colon, lung, pancreatic, and stomach cancer, April 2011


To see reports on other Canadian cancer charities



1. Sheryl Ubelacker, Canadian Cancer Society turns around finances after cutting excesses post-merger, Canadian Press, July 4, 2018 

Charity Star Ratings

View ratings on the charities in our database. You can see a list of all 4-Star Charities, or to access all charity ratings become a Subscriber.

Donate to Ci

Support our work today! Charity Intelligence is a registered charity that relies on donations from people like you.

Your gift makes possible Ci's ongoing work to make Canada's dynamic charitable sector more transparent, accountable and focused on results. Informed and intelligent donors make Canadian philanthropy stonger. Thank you!
Go to top