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:

[Charity Rating: 2/5]



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) 53 cents are available for programs.

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About Cancer Research Society:

Cancer Research Society has large funding reserves that can cover over five years of grants. In 2021, the charity raised $29 million and supported cancer research with $9.5 million in grants. Read Charity Intelligence's report before you donate to this charity with a 2-star rating.

Founded in 1945, Cancer Research Society (CRS) raises money to fund cancer research. The charity funds research on cancer prevention, detection, and treatment. According to the charity, there are over 200 different types of cancer, and it is the leading cause of death in Canada.

Cancer Research Society distributed $9.5m in cancer research grants and scholarships in F2021, down from $12.0m in F2020. It reports that of total funding, 73% went to research on cancer treatments, 27% to research on causes and prevention, and 1% 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 F2021, Cancer Research Society selected 67 new research projects to fund. With 74 ongoing research projects also funded during the year, CRS supported 141 research projects in F2021 (down from 144 in F2020). 

Strategic initiatives are large-scale, collaborative research projects co-funded with partners such as Canadian Institute of Health Research, Merck Canada, and Canadian universities. One notable new initiative is the Prostate Cancer Biobank, funded in collaboration with PROCURE and other donors. According to the charity, the biobank of over 2,000 patients will help identify genetic indicators of prostate cancer associated with tumour aggressiveness and recurrence.

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 F2021, CRS awarded three new scholarships and continued funding for eight other scholarships. 

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Results and Impact

In a research project partially funded by the Cancer Research Society, Dr. Pieter Cullis developed two drugs approved by Health Canada and the FDA. These drugs are Myocet to treat metastatic breast cancer and Marqibo to treat acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL).

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. The team's results are published in the Journal of Experimental and Clinical Research

In 1988, an endowment of $1 million was made to McGill University for the creation of the Cancer Research Society Division of Epidemiology in the Department of Oncology. Under the direction of Eduardo Franco, the Division has published over 400 peer-reviewed scientific papers in the last 20 years.

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

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Cancer Research Society is a Major 100 charity, meaning it is one of the country's largest in terms of Canadian donations. It received $29.2m in donations and special events fundraising revenue in F2021. Administrative costs are 4% of total revenue (excluding investment income) and fundraising costs are 44% of total donations. This results in a total overhead spending of 47%. For every dollar donated, 53 cents go to cancer research. This falls outside Ci's reasonable range for overhead spending. 

Cancer Research Society invested more in fundraising than it did in cancer grants in F2021. For the last three years, CRS has spent $35.9m on fundraising relatives to $35.8m in cancer research grants. Administrative costs associated with managing research grants are presented as program costs. In F2021, it cost CRS 4 cents to manage each dollar of research grants made that year, which is a strong grant management ratio. 

CRS holds $55.1m 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 5.6 years or 3.8 years based on average program costs over the past three years. 

CRS reports annual research grant and fellowship commitments in its audited financial statements. The charity has committed to distributing $20.3m (37% of funding reserves) over the next four years: $13.4m in F2022, $6.6m in F2023, $315k in F2024, $20k in F2025. 

CRS's three largest grant recipients in F2021 were University of Montreal ($852k), University of Sherbrooke ($675k), and University Health Network ($522k). 

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 10, 2022 by Ann Lei. 

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending August
Administrative costs as % of revenues 3.7%5.5%5.3%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 43.8%47.6%36.4%
Total overhead spending 47.5%53.1%41.6%
Program cost coverage (%) 560.4%335.2%259.6%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 27,48525,35826,276
International donations 9060128
Government funding 40143398
Special events 1,7361,0442,676
Investment income 6,5602,1831,688
Other income 4013360
Total revenues 36,67329,41430,865
Program costs 368417484
Grants 9,47011,97014,349
Administrative costs 1,0991,5001,538
Fundraising costs 12,79912,57310,524
Total spending 23,73726,46126,894
Cash flow from operations 12,9362,9543,971
Capital spending 2571115
Funding reserves 55,13741,51938,504

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. 

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 29

Avg. compensation: $72,799

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 F2021

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Comments & Contact

Comments added by the Charity:

The following comment is from a previous profile. Additional comments may be forthcoming. 

"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

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: 514 861-9227


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Charitable Registration Number: 80340 7956 RR0001