Editor’s Note: This is a copy of the letter the Canadian Cancer Society sent to Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce president Rob Waters in response to his letter, which was printed in the March 5 Chronicle.
Thank you for writing to me to share the concerns expressed by your membership following the announcement of the Ladysmith unit office closure.
We certainly appreciate the generosity of the community over many years and the commitment to helping the Canadian Cancer Society achieve our mission. We recognize that many people in the community are disappointed by our decision and we are sorry that is the case.
I know that my colleague, Peter Kingston, vice-president of operations, has spoken with you by phone on March 12 and confirmed that I would be providing you this written response to share with your membership.
In your letter, you say that often “decisions are made without considering the magnitude of the consequences.”
I can assure you this was not an easy decision and was one of many difficult changes we have had to make, after much consideration, in order to manage our budget for the coming year to ensure we can continue to deliver our mission work.
We are closing the unit offices in Ladysmith and Parksville-Qualicum, as well as the regional office in the Yukon, as a result of unpredictable economic times, the need for our charity to live within its means, and the requirement to reduce our administrative and overhead expenses.
While the rental savings from closing the Ladysmith office may appear relatively small, it is an important savings when you are looking at every dollar spent within the organization. We have reduced budgets for meetings, travel, conferences, professional services, advertising and more and we have had to make reductions to staffing across BC and Yukon. We had hoped that by making administrative changes we could avoid office closures and staffing reductions but unfortunately, that was not the case.
With respect to your question around any “national administration fees taken from donations,” I am not sure what you have in mind.
I can assure you that there is no administration fee paid against donations and refer you to our audited financial statements, which you can find at cancer.ca/bc (under About Us-Financial Statements):
In Note 8, you will find the disclosure of all transactions with our national and other divisional offices, in respect to services provided across the country.
We are not leaving the Ladysmith community. We will continue to provide leading cancer prevention initiatives as well as compassionate support programs and services to residents in the Ladysmith community as we have before. Our unit office in Nanaimo will be available to assist as needed and will be supported by our regional office in Victoria and our team in Vancouver.
Residents can also connect with us through our website, www.cancer.ca, Facebook, Twitter, our blog www.OurFightForLife.ca, and our Cancer Information Service. Our CancerConnection program, which provides peer support to those on a cancer journey, will still be available and accessible for Ladysmith residents as will Camp Goodtimes, the Vancouver Island Lodge and the Volunteer Driver Program. Our Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock will continue to stop in Ladysmith, and our annual Daffodil Month campaign will remain visible.
The Canadian Cancer Society relies on a broad team of people to collaborate to achieve its mission of eradicating cancer and enhancing the quality of life of people living with cancer. This team includes staff, volunteers, researchers, donors, supporters, community members, cancer fighters, survivors and more. Many times, this collaboration does not happen in a defined physical space. We hope all our volunteers in both Ladysmith and Parksville-Qualicum will continue to work with us in the community — they, like all volunteers across BC and Yukon, are valued, needed and wanted.
I know that Peter Kingston has offered to come over to Ladysmith with our regional staff to meet with your members and others in the community to explain the services that we provide and how the Ladysmith community can access them, as well as to respond to specific questions.
[This meeting is being held Wednesday, March 27 at 6 p.m. at the Eagles Hall.]
We are deeply grateful for the generosity the people of Ladysmith have shown us over the years.
We hope they will continue to join us in fulfilling our mission.
Chief executive officer, Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon