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CanCertainty: Creating and Marketing a Coalition that Improves Cancer Care


Health & Wellness


In 2014, Proof partnered with Deborah Maskens (co-founder of both Kidney Cancer Canada and the CanCertainty Coalition) to create and launch CanCertainty.

CanCertainty is an unprecedented unification of more than 35 Canadian patient and professional cancer groups working together to ensure all Canadian cancer patients have CanCertainty – certainty that if cancer strikes them or a loved one they will have fair and equal access to the treatment they need, whether intravenous (IV) or take-home oral medications.

The Problem

There is no disputing a cancer diagnosis is among the worst news a person or their family can receive. But there is another harsh reality for many patients in Ontario and Atlantic Canada who face uncertainty and financial hardship when it comes to accessing cancer treatments that are taken at home.

Currently, when a cancer patient needs a provincially-approved take-home therapy, their age, private insurance status, income or where they live can result in significant costs and delays in treatment. In contrast, the same patient can access an IV treatment at no cost and no wait-time regardless of income or insurance coverage

In forming CanCertainty our goal has been to encourage Ontario and the Atlantic provinces to close this inequity gap. Our job at Proof is to raise awareness of this issue among Canadians, the cancer community and to alert provincial governments of these discrepancies.

Where did we start?

We started by giving the cause a name and brand identity and supported our client in building the coalition. We created campaign messages and content for all members to use and then set out to educate health and policy media on the issue and introduce CanCertainty.

In 2014 we launched CanCertainty to the public and governments through the CanCertainty coalition, led by Deborah Maskens. We executed a strategy to generate awareness using media as a conduit to engage Canadians, health care professionals and the governments and to drive change.

Given the complicated nature of the story, we created a video to explain the issue in simple terms and emotionally connect with our audience. The video was shared with media and through CanCertainty social channels.

CanCertainty’s efforts led to Cancer Care Ontario holding a think-tank meeting and Report on the issue titled: Enhancing the Delivery of Take-Home Cancer Therapies in Ontario released in December 2014. As stated by CCO:

“System oversight for take-home cancer medications should be consistent with the one in place for hospital-administered drugs.”


Our efforts continued with additional outreach as the Council of the Federation was meeting in St. John’s NFL in 2015.  Knowing that pharmacare would be on the agenda and that Health Ministers and their staff would be driving from the airport to the hotel where the conference was being held we created a series of local billboards and ads, with the message of pharmacare might be coming but cancer can’t wait.

This year we conducted and launched the results of research with Canadians with cancer and oncologists to share their opinion on and support for the issue.

How are we doing?

CanCertainy has engaged provincial governments and continues to meet and have important discussion on the topic. Through our team we have generated over 300 pieces of news coverage resulting in more than 67 MM media impressions. CanCertainy is now a very well-known mission by key stakeholders, the cancer community, media, industry and patients. CanCertainty members and founder Deb Maskens are now continually called on by media looking for expert comment on the topic of cancer, funding and inequities.

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