Call to action

Immediate action is needed to enable equitable and ongoing screening services to eligible populations across Canada during the pandemic and beyond

Efforts to support screening resilience will support the provision of screening services to eligible populations across Canada. Particular attention should be placed to ensure equitable access to screening for underserved communities, which will involve working with governments and organizations that represent underserved communities to achieve goals towards advancing equity and cultural competency within screening services:

  • Strategies for supporting screening resilience can support the provision of screening services during the COVID-19 pandemic but should work to also advance activities which address needs, reduce barriers, and improve access for underserved populations.
    • Engaging communities to understand the factors that drive barriers and facilitators to accessing health, education and social support and ensure these services remain available for those who rely on them both throughout and beyond the pandemic.
  • Development of evidence-based prioritization frameworks should consider ways to address competing needs in an equitable fashion.
  • Modifications to the screening pathways should ensure needs of underserved populations—including people with lower incomes and people who live in rural and remote communities—are being addressed both during and beyond the pandemic.

More and better data are needed:

  • Efforts to improve the availability, analysis and dissemination of Peoples-specific, self-determined data are needed to better understand the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis screening journeys during the pandemic.
  • Efforts to collect, link and disaggregate data (e.g. related to socio-demographic factors, including geography, income, education, racial and/or ethnic background, sex and gender, sexual orientation, etc.) can enable an improved understanding of inequities and enable targeted intervention to reach those most in need.
  • Further investigation of the impact of the first wave of COVID-19 on the provision and uptake of screening services is needed to provide additional insights to inform future planning activities to enable screening resilience through future waves of this pandemic, or future pandemics.

This document reflects the best available evidence and expert recommendations for screening service provision and prioritization to increase the resiliency of screening services during anticipated outbreaks or service disruptions related to the pandemic. This document will be reviewed and updated to reflect new and emerging evidence as it becomes available.

Learn more

For more information and references, download the guidance document Management of Cancer Screening Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Building Resilient, Safer & Equitable Screening Services.