Canadian Cancer Society

Suite 300 - 55 St Clair Avenue West
Toronto, ON M4V 2Y7
CEO: Andrea Seale
Board Chair: Robert Lawrie

Charitable Reg. #:11882 9803 RR0001


Ci's Star Rating is calculated based on the following independent metrics:

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Audited financial statements for current and previous years available on the charity’s website.



Grade based on the charity's public reporting of the work it does and the results it achieves.



The demonstrated impact per dollar Ci calculates from available program information.


Charity's cash and investments (funding reserves) relative to how much it spends on programs in most recent year.



For a dollar donated, after overhead costs of fundraising and admin/management (excluding surplus) 56 cents are available for programs.

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About Canadian Cancer Society:

Founded in 1938, Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) believes it has had more impact against more cancers in more communities than any other cancer charity in Canada. Currently, nearly half of Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives, and one in four Canadians will die from cancer. It is estimated that in 2020, 115,800 Canadian men and 110,000 Canadian women will be diagnosed with cancer.

Programs represented 55% of program spending in F2020. Unlike many other large cancer charities, CCS is more than a funder for research; it also runs programs that help people with cancer. The programs provide practical support to people with, and affected by, cancer through online resources, telephone counselling, transportation to and from medical appointments, in addition to wigs and prosthetics.

In F2019, Canadian Cancer Society offered over 206,000 rides to patients through volunteer drivers. The charity also responded to 45,000 phone calls on its cancer information hotline and distributed 330,000 printed brochures. In F2019, more than 14 million people went to the charity’s website to learn more about cancer. To support youth, 600 kids attended Camp Goodtimes in BC, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick to help families affected by cancer to relax and make new memories together.

Research grants represented 41% of program spending in F2020. The charity’s most recent F2018 Research Impact Report states that the charity has 304 research investments and 574 clinical trials have taken place across Canada.

Advocacy represented 4% of program spending in F2020. CCS lobbies for better laws to reduce cancer rates, especially tobacco restrictions, sun tanning beds, asbestos restrictions, and better benefits.

Output data is from F2019 since the charity’s 2020 Annual Report was not available at the time of this profile update.

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Results and Impact

A CCS-funded study has shown that it is possible to predict who will develop acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), the leading cause of adult leukemia deaths in Canada. The researchers found that healthy people start getting genetic changes in their blood cells as early as ten years before being diagnosed. With this new knowledge, researchers believe that a simple blood test will help identify people at high risk of developing AML.

While Ci highlights these key results, they may not be a complete representation of Canadian Cancer Society’s results and impact.

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Canadian Cancer Society is a Major 100 charity, meaning it is one of Canada’s largest in terms of donations. The charity received $149.1m in donations in F2019. The charity also received $12.4m in government funding. Administrative costs are 5% of revenues and fundraising costs are 38% of donations. For every dollar donated, 56 cents go to the cause. This is not within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending. The charity holds $157.6m in funding reserves, of which $9.2m is donor-endowed. Excluding donor-endowed funds, the charity can cover 1.5 years of annual program costs.

In F2020, the charity paid external fundraisers $2.5m to raise $8.7m in donations. In other words, it costs Canadian Cancer Society 28 cents to raise a dollar through external fundraisers.

On February 1, 2017 CCS merged with Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, a mega-merger in Canada’s charity sector between two of the largest charities. More information on the merger:

Charity Intelligence's analysis on the CCS & CBCF merger October 2016

This charity report is an update that has been sent to Canadian Cancer Society for review. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on August 28, 2020 by Tenzin Shomar.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending January
Administrative costs as % of revenues 5.3%3.9%3.8%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 38.4%35.5%36.3%
Total overhead spending 43.7%39.4%40.1%
Program cost coverage (%) 146.9%144.3%121.7%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 149,086147,420146,384
Government funding 12,40411,81813,304
Lotteries (net) 2,8752,5564,212
Investment income 10,4423,3923,592
Other income 5,8755,9415,024
Total revenues 180,682171,127172,516
Program costs 59,32554,48053,437
Grants 42,13340,40848,861
Administrative costs 9,0246,4506,430
Fundraising costs 57,28552,36753,099
Total spending 167,767153,705161,827
Cash flow from operations 12,91517,42210,689
Capital spending 2,4112,705243
Funding reserves 157,624144,933134,882

Note: Ci reports the net profit of lotteries (ticket sales less prizes and costs), decreasing revenues and expenses by $7.0m in F2020, $7.0m in F2019, and $14.4m in F2018.    

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 728

Avg. Compensation: $80,876

Top 10 staff salary range:

$350k +
$300k - $350k
$250k - $300k
$200k - $250k
$160k - $200k
$120k - $160k
$80k - $120k
$40k - $80k
< $40k

Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2020

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Comments & Contact

Comments added by the Charity:




Read more Charity Intelligence reports on Canadian Cancer Society

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

Setting the record straight - looking at CCS's fundraising costs relative to cancer research grants only tells half the story, 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 four under-funded cancers that take the highest toll on Canadians: colon, lung, pancreatic and stomach cancer, April 2011

To see the listing on other Canadian cancer charities



Charity Contact

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