Cancer Research Society

402 - 625 President-Kennedy Avenue
Montreal, QC H3A 3S5
President & CEO: Manon Pepin
Board Chair: Francois Painchaud

Charitable Reg. #:11915 3229 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) 47 cents are available for programs.

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About Cancer Research Society:

Founded in 1945 in Montreal, Cancer Research Society (CRS) raises money to fund research on prevention, detection, and treatment of all types of cancer. CRS highlights that one in two Canadians is diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.  

Cancer Research Society distributed $12m in cancer research grants and scholarships in F2020, a 16% decrease from $14.3m in F2019. Its 2020 annual report presents its spending breakdown from 2019. It reports that of total funding, 54% went to research on cancer treatments, 25% to research on causes and prevention, and 20% to research on detection. 

CRS has two core funding programs: operating grants and strategic initiatives. It also offers scholarships for next-generation scientists. 

Operating grants fund basic, early translational, and environmental cancer research. Most grants are $120,000 over two years. In F2020, Cancer Research Society received 357 funding requests from researchers and selected 74 new research projects to fund. With 70 sustained research projects also funded during the year, CRS supported 144 research projects in total (up from 139 in F2019). 

Strategic initiatives are large-scale, collaborative research projects funded in tandem with partners such as Canadian Institute of Health Research, Merck Canada, and Canadian universities. The charity reports funding 38 initiatives in F2020. One notable new initiative is the Onco-Tech competition, co-funded by Oncopole, MEDTEQ, and Institut TransMedTech. It received a $2.6m grant from CRS. Onco-Tech brings together expert researchers and industry leaders to improve technology in cancer care.  

The remaining research funding went to scholarships. Cancer Research Society’s scholarships are for new researchers completing their fellowships. Each scholarship is $170,000 distributed over three years. In F2020, CRS awarded three new scholarships and continued funding for nine sustained scholarships. 

CRS’s UpCycle program did not run again after providing its first year of grants in F2018. 

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Results and Impact

Dr. Noel Raynal’s team at CHU Saint-Justine, supported by a $100k UpCycle grant in F2018, discovered a potential new use of proscillaridin A for treating aggressive leukemia (which is the second leading cause of childhood cancer death in Canada). The drug is traditionally used for cardiac diseases, and the team's results are published in the Journal of Experimental and Clinical Research. 

Dr. Francis Rodier and his team at CRCHUM, supported by a $120k operating grant, discovered a new treatment for epithelial ovarian cancer in 2019, termed the “one-two punch.” The treatment targets the aging process of cancer cells. It has two stages: the first step stops the cells from multiplying, and the second step kills the now ‘senile’ cells to eliminate the cancer. These results were published in Nature Communications Journal. Pre-clinical models involving ovarian and breast cancer patients are testing this treatment method to confirm its effectiveness. 

Dr. Rebecca Auer from The Ottawa Hospital, supported by a $120k operating grant found that combining two treatments, Viagra and the flu vaccine Agriflu, helped the immune system clean up leftover cancer cells after the surgical removal of a tumor. Her research is now being evaluated in a clinical trial. 

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Cancer Research Society is one of Canada’s Major 100 charities, meaning it is one of the country’s largest in terms of Canadian donations. It received just over $26.4m in donations and special events fundraising in F2020. Administrative costs are 6% of total revenue (excluding investment income) and fundraising costs are 48% of total donations. This results in a total overhead spending of 53%. For every dollar donated, $0.47 goes to cancer research, which is outside Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending. 

Administrative costs associated with managing research grants are presented as program costs. In F2019, it cost CRS 4 cents to manage each dollar of research grants made that year, which is a strong grant management ratio. 

CRS holds $41.5m in funding reserves, including $222k in endowed funds. The charity does not disclose whether these funds are board endowed or donor endowed. The charity’s reserves can cover annual grants spending for 3.4 years. 

CRS reports annual research grant and fellowship commitments in its audited financial statements. The charity has committed to distributing $21.9m (53% of funding reserves) over the next five years: $12.5m in F2021, $7.7m in F2022, $1.6m in F2023, $75k in F2024, and $20k in F2025. 

CRS’s five largest grants in F2020 went to University Health Network ($834k), McGill University Health Centre ($795k), McGill University ($650k), University of Laval ($587k), and University of Sherbrooke ($557k). 

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

Updated on June 2, 2021 by Asha McMullin. 

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending August
Administrative costs as % of revenues 5.6%5.3%4.7%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 47.6%36.4%32.8%
Total overhead spending 53.2%41.6%37.5%
Program cost coverage (%) 335.2%259.6%211.8%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 25,35826,27626,072
International donations 6012871
Government funding 43398141
Special events 1,0442,6762,411
Investment income 2,1831,6882,491
Total revenues 29,07930,86531,187
Program costs 417484538
Grants 11,97014,34915,965
Administrative costs 1,5001,5381,347
Fundraising costs 12,57310,5249,350
Total spending 26,46126,89427,199
Cash flow from operations 2,6183,9713,987
Capital spending 71115204
Funding reserves 41,51938,50434,947

Note: Ci obtained government funding and international donations figures from the charity’s T3010 CRA filings and backed the amounts out of donations. Grants include gifts to qualified donees, research grants, and scholarships as reported in the T3010 CRA filings. Subsidy receivable is removed from revenues to account on a cash basis. This affects revenues by ($336k).

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 31

Avg. Compensation: $71,656

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:

Cancer Research Society provided these comments to a previous report. New comments may be submitted.

"The mission of the Cancer Research Society is to fund research on all types of cancer throughout Canada. Through its operating grant program, the Society primarily supports fundamental or basic research. Fundamental research answers the why, what and how of cancer. It leads to essential knowledge that serves as the cornerstone for innovative discoveries. The Society also funds translational research, which takes discoveries from the laboratory and brings them to the patient in the form of better diagnostic tools and treatments. Last but not least, the Society, finances projects aimed at understanding the environmental causes of cancer, a field in which it is considered to have played a pioneering role in Canada.

With the goal of expanding its research portfolio and leveraging donor funds, the Cancer Research Society partners with individuals, families, groups, and other cancer organizations by creating scientific alliances and targeted Research Funds. These partnerships allow enhanced funding of research on:

  • various types of cancer (prostate, breast, pancreas, lung, ovary, myeloma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, etc.);
  • late effects of childhood cancer treatments;
  • personalized medicine; and the
  • environmental causes of cancer.

In addition to operating grants, and through its Scholarships for the Next Generation of Scientists program, the Society provides young researchers with the opportunity to pursue their careers in Canada. This unique and innovative funding initiative serves to prevent an exodus of our best scientific minds.

During the past five years, the Society has invested $62.3 million in research and has funded 335 new research projects on cancer throughout Canada.

The Cancer Research Society has been funding research since 1945. Since its creation, there have been many advances in cancer detection, prevention and treatment. Guided by the highest standards and an uncompromising commitment, the Society aims to exceed expectations in research. 

For more information:"

May 25, 2018: For more information on how funding reserves, among others, is calculated:

Charity Contact

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Donors can contact Cancer Research Society at 1.888.766.2262 or at 514.861.9227

Tel: 514 861-9227