Confusing figures from Canadian Cancer Society

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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I was pleased to see Lori Barker of the P.E.I. Division of the Canadian Cancer Society respond to the recent letter in the paper which criticized the society for spending so much of its revenue on administration and fundraising with a much smaller proportion going to actual cancer research and support. It’s good to get both sides.

After I read Carol Lavers’ letter, I decided to look for more information and found Charity Intelligence Canada, a Canadian ‘charity watch dog’ who show financial records for many of Canada’s registered charities. In the case of the Canadian Cancer Society, they show that, in 2014, the Society’s administration and fundraising costs were 34 per cent of total revenue.

The confusing part is that Ms. Barker’s letter says that amount was 11 per cent of “expenses”, not 11 per cent of total revenue.

And just to confuse you even more — donations make up about half the society’s revenue; the rest coming from ‘special events’, lotteries, government funding (your tax dollars at work) and ‘other income’.

Another figure I found was the society’s generous remuneration for its top staff: six employees at $200K-$250K per year, one at $250K-$300K and three at $300K-$350K.

I know, you will say you have to pay big bucks for the best people, but the Canadian Senate payroll shows this is sometimes a fallacy. I’m sure such a worthy cause as the Society’s could find driven people who would work at much lower salaries and free up more funds for research and support.

As Ms. Barker said, the society “sincerely wants to make the most progress possible.” Trimming the fat is a great start.

Lloyd Kerry,


Organizations: Canadian Cancer Society, P.E.I. Division, Canadian Senate

Geographic location: Canada, Charlottetown

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