MONTREAL, Jan. 10, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ - One in two Canadians will be a victim of cancer in their lifetime. Currently in Canada, Cancer Patients receive Employment Insurance  sickness benefits for only the first 15 weeks, meanwhile the recovery after an episode of cancer is estimated on average at one year. More than 70% of Canadians are not unionized, nor have access to a group disability insurance plan. Lower-income patients have been shown to have a lower survival rate than higher income patients. The question is, how will a cancer patient manage to survive financially under these circumstances. In addition, it has been demonstrated, more than half of those affected are women, creating greater financial insecurities and significant hardships. By now, readers may find themselves asking how they would fare financially if they were faced with such a situation. 

The public is being urged to visit www.15weeks.ca, that will allow them to send a personalized letter to all elected officials advocating for this change to increase the amount of weeks  of sickness benefits for cancer patients. 

'15 weeks is not enough' is the 2018 campaign that was started by a patient named Marie-Hélène Dubé, she has been  advocating for change since 2009 to date collecting over 600,000 signatures. The purpose of this Pan Canadian web campaign www.15weeks.ca is to collectively mobilize all Canadians to create a real sense of urgency. It is time all elected officials understand the importance of modernizing and adapting to the realities of 2018, by increasing the economic and social security for Canadian workers. This  provision has remained unchanged since 1971. One hundred dollars in 1971 is worth $619 today, which represents more than 520% inflation; yet the government asserts to citizens that fifteen weeks of support is sufficient. Despite seven bill change proposals over the past nine years and political promises including the one Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development made on a 2016 CBC television broadcast. Adding to this, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's vote five years ago in favour of Bill C-291, which aims to increase the benefits to 50 weeks, yet Canada remains the only G8 country, asides the United States, to offer sickness benefits for less than one year. 

When cancer, or another illness hits a person, it's the life of the whole family that is impacted. It is not normal that in 2018 there are Canadian citizens ending up in the streets, at the expense of patients falling victim to insufficient government programs that are supposed to be there for patients as a last resort.  The government remains stubbornly indifferent in its refusal to provide appropriate financial conditions that allow patients to recover with dignity so they can regain their status as active citizens and taxpayers contributing once again to the growth of the Canadian economy. 

If the number of weeks of sickness benefits remains as is, and is not increased, the painful reality is that Canadians will continue to be penalized directly and indirectly, severely limiting their personal, family and professional autonomy, at the expense of the Canadian economy. 

To send this personalized letter today, go to www.15weeks.ca. All it takes is one click. All together, let's call for an increase in the number of weeks of sickness benefits. 

For further information: Marie-Hélène Dubé, Prestations-maladie@hotmail.com, (514) 710-4665