Canadian Cancer Society Controversy

Topics: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Communication, Cancer research Pages: 9 (2573 words) Published: February 28, 2013

The foundation for Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) was launched by Saskatchewan Media Association in 1929. It is officially formed in 1938, and the current President and CEO is Peter Goodhand. The Canadian Cancer Society’s vision is “Creating a world where no Canadian fears cancer”. The mission of CCS is “The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer.” (“Our mission, vision and value”, 2011)

Situation Summary
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) released a report, “Cancer Society spends more on fundraising than research”, on July 6, 2011. By analyzing CCS’s financial statements, the CBC pointed out that the donations had increased significantly from 2000 to 2011. However, the percentage of money that CCS spent on cancer research had dropped to 22 percent in 2011 from 40 percent in 2000.

After the report being release, public speculation started to grow as well as online comments. It is clear that CCS need to respond on the report as soon as possible. Although the organization was asked for an on-camera interview, they rejected it, and responded through an email. In the email, CCS mentioned that cancer research is a part of their work, and they are responsible for doing everything that they can to support people living with cancer, and lower the risk of developing cancer (Bigus, 2011).

Statement of the Issue and Analysis
There are two main issues in the case: First, what are the concerns of CCS’s donors, volunteers, employees and public after watching the CBC report? Second, what is the best communication method that the CCS can make to solve the growing concerns of its stakeholders and public?

Obviously, people are wondering how much did CCS really spend on cancer control during the past decade. Here is the CCS’s Cancer Control Budget in year 2005 and 2011:
(Source: Canadian Cancer Society financial Statements)

These two pie charts show that the proportion of money being used on cancer control were almost the same (around 60%) in 2005 and 2011. If you analyze CCS’s financial statements during the past few years, not only in year 2005 and 2011, but also in all years, the results were all about 60%. That is, Canadian Cancer Society had been keeping its focus on cancer control, and the proportion of money being spent on cancer research did not change at all.

CCS allocates its financial budgets into five areas: doing research, supporting people living with cancer and prevention programs, advocating with government to improve policies and providing information about cancer (Bigus, 2011). The graph below provides more details about how much CCS spent on different respects in year 2005 and 2011.

(Source: Canadian Cancer Society financial Statements)

From the pie chart we can see that the percentage of research did reduce from 28% in 2005 to 23% in 2011. Nevertheless, CCS spent more on prevention (10%) in 2011 compared with in 2005 (5%). At the same time, the proportion of support, information and advocacy kept the same. Apparently, even though the proportion of these five areas changed to some degree, research is still the CCS’s priority in cancer control.

In fact, the amount of money CCS spent on research each year had increased over the past 10 years. Here is the trend:
(Source: Canadian Cancer Society financial Statements)

The line curve above describes the trend of donations spent on research. As we can see from the graph, the amount of founds used on research was 42 million in 1999, then jumped to 49 million in 2011.

As mentioned above, research, support, information, advocacy and prevention are all considered as important parts for CCS, and they have the obligation to allocate its recourses and consider different needs. Obviously, the CBC misused information from CCS’s financial statements. On the...

References: Blumberg, M (November 7, 2011), In, CBC report on Canadian Cancer Society -thoughts on transparency, media coverage, + fundraising costs, Retrieved November 11, from
Canadian Cancer Society (2011), Retrieved November 10, 2011, from
Our mission, vision and value (2011). Canadian Cancer Society, Retrieved November 12, 2011, from
Bigus, P (October 17, 2011), Canadian Cancer Society: Fundraising Controversy Richard Ivey School of Business, 9B11M098
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