NEWS RELEASE: Engagement to modernize Canada’s cancer strategy earns IAP2 Awards

Charlotte, NC, Sept. 5, 2019 – Reaching “underserviced” Canadians to help modernize a strategy for combating cancer has earned the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (the Partnership) the award for Project of the Year from the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) Canada. The award was one of the IAP2 Core Values Awards, presented at the annual IAP2 North American Conference in Charlotte.

The IAP2 Core Values Awards recognize achievements in the field of public engagement, ensuring that people affected by a decision are given the opportunity to give input on that decision and to know how their input was taken into account.

Anila Sunnak (c) of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer receives the award for Project of the Year from IAP2 Board members Mark Weir (l) and Catherine Rockandel

As part of a wider engagement, the Partnership held in-person dialogues across Canada to determine how Canada’s refreshed cancer plan can better serve all Canadians. In particular, the facilitated sessions focused on “underserviced” populations — seniors, new immigrants, persons living on low incomes, 2SLGBTQ+ community, racialized peoples, minority language communities, and those living in remote or northern communities. These dialogues were developed in partnership with these communities and used relatable plain-language questions with visuals reflecting the diverse faces of these groups.

 This targeted engagement was part of a wider process, as the Partnership also engaged more than 7,500 Canadians in facilitated sessions and innovative “pop-up” engagement sessions as well as with an online “choicebook” survey tool. 

A wide parallel process also engaged Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, and three Peoples-specific priorities have been identified in the updated plan.

These conversations have led to a transformative impact on the Partnership’s thinking and work in cancer control and the resulting 2019-2029 Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control is a roadmap for change across the cancer system over the next ten years. As a direct result of this engagement with underserviced communities and other Canadians, one of the five priorities of the refreshed Strategy is to: Eliminate barriers to people getting the care they need. 

The Strategy was refreshed to ensure it can continue to guide Canada’s collective efforts in the years ahead, but the vision remains the same: fewer Canadians developing cancer, more Canadians surviving cancer and those with cancer have a better quality of life.

“This recognition by IAP2 is such an honour,” says Cynthia Morton, CEO of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. “We heard directly from voices not usually at the table for important healthcare discussions. They told us about challenges people faced related to poverty, distance, gender identity, mental health, new immigrant status and cultural sensitivity, preventing people from accessing and getting quality cancer care. As steward of Canada’s cancer strategy, the Partnership will work with these communities, provincial cancer agencies and other stakeholders to improve services and care for those who need it most.”

The Partnership also received the Core Values Award for Respect for Diversity, Inclusion and Culture.

The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer now has the opportunity to be recognized on the world stage, as it will compete against Projects of the Year from other IAP2 affiliates in Australasia, Southern Africa, USA and Indonesia. That award will be announced in October at the IAP2 Australasian Conference in Sydney, Australia.

Watch the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer’s video here.

In past years, the Project of the Year award honours have gone to the Federal Department of Justice (2018), the City of Calgary (2017), Nova Scotia Health (2016) and Beringia Community Planning and the Pikangikum (Ontario) First Nation (2015).

More information on the IAP2 Core Values Awards can be found at

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