Working together to improve cancer services for urban Aboriginal peoples

Cancer Care Ontario unites with the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres

TORONTO, July 19, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, representatives from Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) signed a relationship protocol with the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC). The agreement was signed at the OFIFC Annual General Assembly held in Sault Ste. Marie. 

Relationship protocols are a key priority of CCO's Aboriginal Cancer Strategy II (ACS II), and represent a commitment to work together to improve cancer services for First Nations, Inuit and Métis in communities throughout Ontario.

This protocol will enable CCO and OFIFC to identify and address common concerns and interests in order to enhance the quality of health of urban Aboriginal peoples and communities through partnership. The protocol sets a new course for a collaborative relationship between CCO and OFIFC to work to improve cancer programming and service delivery ensuring those who do get cancer live longer and better lives.

Friendship Centres in Ontario are key partners when working with First Nations, Inuit and Métis populations, particularly in urban settings. More than 84 per cent of all Aboriginal people in Ontario live off-reserve.  CCO aims to work together with the OFIFC and its member Friendship Centres, to address issues and advance strategic priorities and initiatives of the current and future Aboriginal Cancer Strategies.


  • Cancer incidence is increasing among the First Nations, Inuit and Métis population and their cancer survival rates are worse than for other Ontarians.
  • This is the third protocol CCO has signed.  Previous agreements were signed with the Anishinabek Nation and the Grand Council Treaty #3.
  • The ACS II has six strategic priorities: building productive relationships, research and surveillance, prevention, screening, supportive care and education.

"We created our cancer control strategy to help reduce the number of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people developing cancer and ensure those who are diagnosed with cancer are supported on their journey. In order for our strategy to be successful, we need to create strong partnerships with leaders in the community, and this protocol is one way we're doing that." 
 – Dr. Linda Rabeneck, Vice-President of Prevention and Cancer Control for CCO

"Our goal is to encourage the adoption of a holistic approach to health, respecting the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and cultural needs of the individual, family and community. Partnering with the Friendship Centres will enables us to use community knowledge and assets to help meet this goal."
Alethea Kewayosh, Director, Aboriginal Cancer Control Unit, CCO 

"This agreement with Cancer Care Ontario outlines how we will work together to improve cancer services so that our unique healthcare needs are respected. Cancer is a rising concern in our community that needs to be addressed in a way that is culturally appropriate to ensure the best quality of care."
Sheila McMahon, President, OFIFC

"The North East Regional Cancer Centre is a key partner in the delivery of cancer services for the Aboriginal communities in the Northeast.  I'm pleased that CCO is formalizing its relationship with the Friendship Centres, as it will assist us to continue to improve care in collaboration with Aboriginal partner organizations."
Mark Hartman, Regional Vice-President, North East Regional Cancer Program

Cancer Care Ontario – an Ontario government agency – drives quality and continuous improvement in disease prevention and screening, the delivery of care and the patient experience, for cancer, chronic kidney disease and access to care for key health services. Known for its innovation and results-driven approaches, Cancer Care Ontario leads multi-year system planning, contracts for services with hospitals and providers, develops and deploys information systems, establishes guidelines and standards and tracks performance targets to ensure system-wide improvements in cancer, chronic kidney disease and access to care.

SOURCE: Cancer Care Ontario

For further information: Tori Gass, Phone: 1-855-460-2646, Email:; Kelly Patrick, Phone: 416-956-7575 Ext. 278, Email:;


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