Canadian Cancer Society

Suite 300 - 55 St Clair Avenue West
Toronto , ON M4V 2Y7
President & CEO: Lynn Hudson
Board Chair: Robert Lawrie

Charitable Reg. #:11882 9803 RR0001


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

Unlock Charity Ratings



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) 61 cents are available for programs.

My anchor


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. In the 1940s only 25% of people diagnosed with cancer survived for more than 5 years. In 2014, the survivor rate was 60%. This survival rate varies widely by the type of cancer.1 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. In 2017, 206,200 new cases of cancer were diagnosed, a 5% year-over-year increase compared with 196,900 cases in 2016. Half of these cases are lung, colorectal, breast and prostate cancers. Cancer is co-related to aging; 90% of newly-diagnosed cancers are in people older than 50, half of these over age 75. On an age-standardized basis, cancer mortality rates in Canada have declined only 5% since 1955.

Programs: 50% of program spending $51.4 million.  Unlike many other large cancer charities, CCS is more than a funder for research; it also runs programs that help people with cancer. These programs have always been the largest part of Canadian Cancer Society’s charity work. 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.

The best cancer research and medical treatment will be for naught if patients can’t get to medical appointments. One in five Canadians diagnosed with cancer faces transportation challenges. CCS Wheels program coordinates volunteer drivers and reimburses driving costs. In 2017 Ci estimates the Wheels program helped over 40,000 Canadians get to cancer treatment appointments costing an estimated $12 million.

In 2017, CCS’s website received 7 million visits to get information about cancer, 90,000 used its online community for support and resources (a 48% increase over 2016), 46,000 people are members on private messaging groups providing peer support and tips, and more than 5,100 Canadians called in for help. CCS responded to nearly 55,000 inquiries from people with cancer/affected by cancer in their family.

Research grants: 47% of program spending $48.9 million. Canadian Cancer Society runs the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute (CCSRI). In F2017, CCS funded 287 lead investigations and a total of 342 research projects and awards (average grant size $160k). The largest portion of grants (68%) were in the areas of basic cancer biology, diagnosis and treatment.

Advocacy:  3% of program spending $3.3 million. CCS lobbies for better laws to reduce cancer rates, especially tobacco restrictions, sun tanning beds, asbestos restrictions, better benefits, and more time for people with cancer and caring for family with cancer.

Results and Impact: CCS’s annual report will likely be released in October 2018. The results and impact are for F2017. CCS reports research achievements that include a drug to prevent breast cancer and advances in treating rare childhood cancers.

My anchor


Canadian Cancer Society is one of Canada’s largest charities, a Major 100 charity with donations and fundraising revenues of $146 million. Total revenues declined by $32 million compared with 2016’s pre-merger pro-forma donations, a 18% decline. In F2018, CCS cut $67 million in costs. Its fundraising costs are 36% of donations and administrative costs are 3% of total revenues. For every dollar donated, 61 cents goes to the cause. This is below what Charity Intelligence considers a reasonable range but is a huge improvement on F2017 overhead costs where only 50 cents went to the cause.

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:

With the addition of Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s stronger balance sheet, CCS’s funding reserves are $135 million. Excluding donor-endowed reserves of $11 million, CCS funding reserves cover its annual programs for 1.3 years.

CCS also has unfunded defined pension liabilities and retirement benefit obligations of $42 million in F2018 ($46 million in F2017). It has cancer research grant commitments for 2019-2023 of $64 million, with $30 million budgeted to be granted this coming year.

External fundraisers disclosure: CCS reports paying external fundraisers $2.6m that raised $28.6m in F2017.

This profile has been sent to Canadian Cancer Society for review. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Profile updated on July 4, 2018 by Kate Bahen.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending January
Administrative costs as % of revenues 3.2%4.9%3.8%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 36.1%45.6%43.1%
Program cost coverage (%) 120.3%68.8%77.4%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 146,384161,61586,076
Government funding 13,30413,79313,350
Lotteries (net) 4,2123,4107,712
Special events 0056,337
Investment income 3,5924,068666
Other income 5,0243,6335,632
Total revenues 172,516186,519169,773
Program costs 54,68870,95076,352
Grants 48,86154,83444,081
Administrative costs 5,4708,9536,378
Fundraising costs 52,80873,70361,327
Cash flow from operations 10,689(21,921)(18,365)
Funding reserves 134,882135,976103,487

Note: Ci reports the net profit of lotteries (ticket sales less prizes and costs). Lottery revenues were $18.7m in F2018, $18.9m in F2017, and $22.1m in F2016.  To show operating cash flow, Ci has added back the non-cash expense amortization $2.6m in F2018, $2.9m in F2017, and $2.4m in F2016. Adding this back to fundraising and admin costs causes a marginal reduction from reported amounts.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 945

Avg. Compensation: $70,389

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 F2017

My anchor

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



1. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2017, published by Canadian Cancer Society, Statistics Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada,  June 2017

Charity Contact

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.