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
Sector: Health - Cancer
Operating Charity

Donor Accountability

Grade: A-

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

Financial Transparency

Audited financial statements for current and previous years available on the charity's website [ Audited financial statement for most recent year ]

Need for Funding

Funding Reserves Program Costs

Spending Breakdown

Cents to The Cause

2015 2016 2017
For a dollar donated, cents funding the cause after fundraising and admin costs, excluding surplus.

Full-time staff #945

Avg. Compensation $70,389

Top 10 Staff Salary Range

$350k + 3
$300k - $350k 1
$250k - $300k 1
$200k - $250k 3
$160k - $200k 2
$120k - $160k 0
$80k - $120k 0
$40k - $80k 0
< $40k 0
Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2017

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%. 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 being people over 75. 

Programs: 56% of program spending ($57.5 million).  Unlike other large cancer charities, CCS is more than a funder for research; it also runs programs that help people with cancer. Since at least 2008 when Charity Intelligence initiated research, 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 these transportation challenges. CCS's Wheels program coordinates volunteer drivers and reimburses driving costs in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Newfoundland. Operations in BC were handed-off in October 2015. In 2017 Ci estimates CCS's Wheels program helped over 18,000 Canadians get to cancer treatment appointments costing an estimated $7 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, more than 5,100 Canadians called in for help, and CCS responded to nearly 55,000 inquiries from people with cancer/affected by cancer in their family.

Research grants: 39% of program spending ($40.4 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. The largest grants (68%) were in the areas of basic cancer biology, diagnosis and treatment. Research achievements include a drug to prevent breast cancer and advances in treating rare childhood cancers.

Advocacy:  5% of program spending ($5.1 million): CCS lobbies for better laws to reduce cancer rates especially tobacco restrictions, sun tanning beds, asbestos and better benefits and more time for people with cancer and caring for family with cancer.

Financial Review:

Canadian Cancer Society is one of Canada’s largest charities, a Major 100 charity, with donations and fundraising revenues of $132 million. Total revenues have declined by $45 million since 2013 due to lower donations and fundraising revenues. This decline without proportionate cuts in fundraising and administrative costs creates poor cost efficiency ratios; administrative costs are 4% of total revenues, and fundraising costs are 45% of total donations and special events. For every dollar donated, 50 cents goes to the cause, which falls outside Ci’s reasonable range.

With ongoing operating losses, CCS’s funding reserves have dropped to $82.9 million. Funding reserves cover 81% of annual program and grant costs. Excluding donor-endowed reserves of $12.4 million, CCS funding reserves cover its annual programs for 69% of a year. CCS also has defined pension liabilities and retirement benefit obligations of $45 million. It has also made research grant commitments for 2018-2022 for $81.9 million with $33.2 million to be paid in F2018 (compared with research grant commitments of $72.3 million in F2016).

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

These figures are for the fiscal year ending January 31, 2017. The next day, February 1, 2017, Canadian Cancer Society merged with Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. CCS’s new directors and management team are looking to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. The 2018 audited financials should be released in July 2018 (6 months after year-end).

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. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on March 22, 2018 by Kate Bahen, research assisted by Mirza Ali Shakir.

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending January
Administrative costs as % of revenues 4.1%3.8%3.7%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 45.4%43.1%41.6%
Program cost coverage (%) 80.5%85.9%118.5%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 80,05286,07683,340
Government funding 13,63113,35010,681
Lotteries (net) 3,4167,7127,289
Special events 52,36756,33766,803
Investment income 2,4636664,255
Other income 3,4115,6325,540
Total revenues 155,340169,773177,908
Program costs 62,60476,35277,822
Grants 40,44844,08143,918
Administrative costs 6,3126,3786,499
Fundraising costs 60,11961,32762,445
Cash flow from operations (14,143)(18,365)(12,776)
Funding reserves 82,933103,487144,314
Note: Ci reports the net profit of lotteries (ticket sales less prizes and costs). Lottery revenues were $18.9m in F2017, $22.1m in F2016, $32.4m in F2015.  To show operating cash flow, Ci has added back the non-cash expense amortization $2.4m in F2017, $2.3m in F2016, $2.8m in F2015. Adding this back to fundraising and admin costs causes a marginal reduction from reported amounts.

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