The co-signatories of this letter are the leaders of five provincial not-for-profit organizations, working directly with people living with cancer and their loved ones. Together, they provide services to more than 55,000 Quebecers each year.

The COVID-19 crisis is the greatest financial difficulty encountered by Quebec organizations dedicated to assisting people affected by cancer.
In mid-March, for the very first time in our history, we had to suspend our in-person fundraising activities. This resulted in a very significant drop in our organizations' revenues. Since the vast majority of our funding is derived from such activities, these losses quickly impacted our ability to provide the support we offer to those affected by cancer, and unless there is prompt government intervention, there will be many more.
Each of our organizations has specific responsibilities that form part of the health network's overall service offer, which includes housing, direct financial assistance, transportation, adapted home support, crisis lines, research funding, psychosocial support, information resources and support groups. This multifaceted assistance plays an essential role in a network that is stretched to the limit of its capabilities. Every year, over 55,000 Quebecers are diagnosed and supported by our organizations.
Since the pandemic hit Quebec with such force, and since in many cases care and treatment have had to be suspended or significantly delayed, cancer patients and their families are now counting on us more than ever before. In response to this situation, our respective organizations have had to constantly reinvent themselves in their attempt to limit financial losses and maintain our services because, as we must never forget, cancer is relentless.
Faced with this extraordinary situation, extraordinary actions need to be taken, including pooling our efforts to ensure that we all speak with one voice. Therefore, at the beginning of May, we alerted the government about our current situation and its inevitable impact on our respective service offerings should no emergency assistance be offered.
After long months of promises of soon-to-be-provided solutions, most of us are still greeted with silence despite numerous reminders. At the time of writing, only two organizations have received a response, and while we applaud the support given to transportation and accommodation, the solution proposed is far from being workable in the medium term. At this moment, the services we offer directly in every region of Quebec, to a public that has already suffered greatly from the impact of this pandemic, risk being temporarily or permanently halted.
So far, the federal government's assistance programs have allowed us to avoid the worst. However, despite all our ingenuity and innovation, there is no possibility of our returning to the same level of income in the short term. The financial crisis that accompanied the current health crisis is having a major impact on the ability to give of both corporations and the general public. These limitations on the part of our donors will be felt not only throughout the current year, but also for several years to come.
While we have been able to preserve our service offerings until now, this cannot continue for much longer. For these reasons, we are imploring the Government of Quebec to recognize the essential contribution of our services to people with cancer and their families and to consent to the urgent requests for financial support that we have submitted to it over the past few months.
The COVID-19 crisis has already caused a great deal of damage to cancer patients and their loved ones. Although most of this damage may have been difficult to avoid in the spring, the Quebec government now has the power and duty to act to prevent further damage occurring in the future.
Pascale Bouchard
Executive Director
Leucan – The Association for Children with Cancer
Marco Decelles
Director General 
Quebec Cancer Foundation
Julie Desharnais
Vice President, Strategic Initiatives
Canadian Cancer Society - Quebec
Karine Ippersiel
President and Chief Executive Officer
Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation
Laurent Proulx
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
PROCURE – Halte au cancer de la prostate

Comment on this article

Sign up for our newsletter