Canadian Partnership Against Cancer | Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control

Pan-Canadian consultation and engagement to create a renewed strategy for cancer control from across the diverse Canadian cancer community.

One in 2 Canadians will be affected by cancer. In 2018 alone, 200,000 Canadians were diagnosed by the disease. For some, cancers present the greatest health challenge of our time.

Canada’s original pan-Canadian plan to reduce the incidence and impact of cancer was created back in 2007, called the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control. This Strategy outlined a series of priority areas for action, and efforts to implement it were led by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer – an independent organization funded by the federal government to accelerate action on cancer control for all Canadians.

In 2018, the federal government directed the Partnership to renew the Strategy, to reflect the progress made in preventing and treating the disease, as well as emerging challenges facing Canada’s cancer system.

Creating this renewed Strategy represented an opportunity to engage partners – including key leaders in cancer control, stakeholders in the broader healthcare system, patients and the public – to shape Canada’s cancer control vision for the future, define the role of a cancer strategy in a federated model of healthcare delivery and co-create a plan to further improve cancer care and delivery across the country.

Hill+Knowlton was selected to design and launch a large-scale, pan-Canadian consultation and engagement, to hear experiences with cancer care and ideas about a renewed strategy from across the diverse cancer community and to involve the patient and stakeholder community in developing the Strategy.

Working closely with Partnership staff, H+K’s public engagement team developed an innovative and highly accessible engagement approach, designed to engage a diverse range of audiences:

  • The broad Canadian public, including patients, family members and caregivers;
  • Underserviced populations, including youth, immigrants, 2SLGBTQ+, rural/remote and northern residents, those living in inner-city locations, persons with low incomes and minority language communities;
  • Cancer charities representing patients and advocating for change;
  • First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples across Canada; and
  • Cancer control experts, including provincial and territorial cancer agencies, clinicians, policy specialists, researchers, patient and family advisors, and stakeholder organizations.

Our approach used three channels and techniques that combined online engagement for broad reach, and in-person engagement for depth on specific issues with certain audiences (e.g. barriers to accessing care with underserviced populations).

1 – Choicebook™: The Choicebook™ is an H+K innovation and engagement tool that is similar to a traditional survey but which collects responses to questions as part of a learning and reflection exercise for participants. It educated participants about Canada’s original Strategy, why a refreshed version is required, the cancer care continuum and other issues related cancer care. We presented participants with information using facts or scenarios before asking for their views through a series of open and closed-ended questions.

We used two complementary versions of the Choicebook™, one open to stakeholders and the public, and a representative sample of n=1000 Canadians.  Together, almost 6,500 participants submitted their views through the Choicebook™

An image of participants at the under-serviced population dialogue held in Partnership with Maison d’Haiti in Montreal (in French).
An image of participants at the under-serviced population dialogue held in Partnership with Maison d’Haiti in Montreal (in French).

2 – Underserviced Population Dialogues: Working with a network of community-based organizations across Canada, we organized a series of 14 dialogues with members of populations who have been underserviced by the cancer care system. These include newcomers, Indigenous peoples, youth, seniors 2SLGBTQ+, rural/remote and northern residents, those living in inner-city locations, persons with low incomes and minority language communities.

3 – “Pop-Up” engagement events: Engagement methodology: Informal feedback sessions, open to the general public, were held in accessible civic spaces such as community centres, public libraries, college and university campuses, and shopping centres. 12 “pop-up” engagement events were held across Canada, in Fredericton, Montréal, Charlottetown, Halifax, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Moncton, Thunder Bay, Vancouver, Scarborough and Ottawa.

Images from “pop-up” engagement sessions held across Canada, with the “idea board” & conversation space

Through this innovative and inclusive engagement, the Partnership involved over 7,300 participants in helping develop Canada’s next Cancer Strategy. Pop-Up Engagements: 640 

As a result of feedback from participants in this diverse and inclusive process, one of the five (5) priorities in the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control will be eliminating barriers that some Canadians face in accessing the cancer care they need. This demonstrates how the engagement process in this application will have an important and lasting impact on improving equity in Canada’s cancer care system. 

This project was selected as the winner of two prestigious 2019 International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) Canada national awards: 

  1. Project of the Year 
  2. Respect for Diversity, Inclusion and Culture Award. 
Sector: Health + Wellness
Office: Ottawa