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Costs of Cancer

The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) pays for most cancer treatment. But two kinds of costs are not paid for:

  1. Extra costs before, during and after cancer treatment
  2. Loss of income while you recover

Extra costs before, during and after cancer treatment are not paid for by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).

You may have to pay for things like:

  • Travel to the hospital and staying nearby during treatment or for follow-up visits
  • Help with housework, yard work and childcare
  • Medicines, dental costs, and parking

Some patients need a caregiver after they have treatment and some patients cannot work during cancer treatment. How much time you or your caregiver will need off work depends on the type of treatment you have. You or your caregiver may have a loss of income during and after cancer treatment. OHIP does not cover expenses related to your loss of work related to your cancer treatment.

Claiming Medical Costs

Start saving all of your receipts for medical related costs. You or your partner may be able to use the receipts to claim costs on your income tax. If your family helps you pay for your medical costs, they may be able to use the receipts to claim costs on their income tax.

Save receipts for all medical related costs, like:

  • Getting to the hospital (like parking, gas, and taxis)
  • Prescription medicine costs that you have to pay
  • Medical devices (like canes, wigs, and air purifiers)
  • Mobility aids (like grab bars or raised toilet seats)

Talk to your accountant about claiming costs on your taxes. You can go to a free tax clinic if you cannot afford an accountant. See the Government of Canada's list of eligible medical expenses you can claim on your tax return.

Income Support

OHIP does not cover expenses related to your loss of work related to your cancer treatment. You may qualify for financial programs from your workplace or private insurance or from the government. Learn more about income assistance >

Travel and Lodging

If you travel a long distance for your cancer treatments, you may be able to claim some of your travel and lodging costs on your taxes.

1. You live less than 40km from the hospital
2. You live between 40km and 80km from the hospital
3. You live more than 80km from the hospital

Where to Stay

Learn more about places to stay while you have cancer treatment at the Princess Margaret.

Travelling to the Hospital


Other Travel Supports:

  • Wheels of Hope is a volunteer driver service provided by the Canadian Cancer Society to help patients receiving cancer treatment get to the hospital. If you do not use Wheels for Hope, you may be able to get limited funding through the Travel Treatment Fund.
  • Wheel–Trans is a transit service run by the City of Toronto for people with disabilities. A member of your healthcare team will have to help you fill out part of the Wheel-Trans application.
  • The Non-insured Health Benefits for First Nations and Inuit program has health-related benefits for patients who are First Nations or Inuit. The program may cover the cost of seeking a specialist medical treatment away from home. See the Government of Canada website for more.
  • Canadian Veterans may qualify to have some or all of your costs covered. Check with the Veterans Affairs website for more details.
  • Your city may have local community agencies or senior driving services. These services may be able to help you get to your appointments, often for a fee. To find services in your community, call 2-1-1 or go to 211 Ontario online.
  • The Northern Ontario Travel Grant is a travel grant for patients who must travel at least 100km one way to access the closest medical specialist or Ministry funded healthcare facility services that are not available locally. Read this brochure for more on who can apply and how you can get funding.
  • If you are on Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program, you can get travel supports such as help with travel costs and paid taxis to medical appointments. See the pamphlet Coping with Cancer: Financial Programs to find out more about these programs.

Health Supports

Some health-related costs are not covered by OHIP and you have to pay for them yourself.

Assistive Devices
Home and Community Health Support Services
Household work

Medicine Coverage

During your cancer treatment, your doctor will give you drug prescriptions. The medicines can be costly. There may be supports to help you pay for medications. There are many drug coverage programs based on your age, income level, drug benefits from work or private health insurance.

Examples of drug coverage programs include:

You can ask to be referred to a Medication Reimbursement Specialist. Medication Reimbursement Specialists are drug coverage experts, they can tell you the options you may have to cover the costs of your medicine. Medication Reimbursement Specialists work with the Princess Margaret Pharmacy to help you get the medications you need.​


Last reviewed: 2/20/2023
Last modified: 4/23/2024 6:37 AM
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