Provincial Travel Support for Cancer Patients
On September 27, 2023, the BC Provincial Government announced an investment of $20 million towards the enhancement of travel services for BC cancer patients living in rural, remote, and smaller communities. The funding will be split equally between the Canadian Cancer Society and Hope Air.
Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) Funding
- Creation of the Cancer Travel and Accommodation Services BC program, which will enable enhancing the three travel support programs offered by CCS.
- Establishment of a new travel grant for bone marrow transplant recipients for treatment of cancer.
- Increase access and eligibility for the Travel Treatment Fund while simultaneously providing more funding to each eligible applicant.
- Eliminate patients’ out-of-pocket costs to stay at CCS’s BC-based lodges (a nominal fee still remains for caregivers).
- Expand Wheels of Hope volunteer driving program service to underserved areas on Vancouver Island and in the Kootenay region.
- Establish a leukemia/bone marrow transplant grant for patients needing to relocate to Vancouver for a transplant.
CCS offers three different travel support programs in British Columbia:
- The Wheels of Hope volunteer driving program, available in Prince George, on Vancouver Island and in the Interior, is free and connects people who need transportation to cancer treatments with volunteer drivers.
- CCS’s Travel Treatment Fund (TTF) offers short-term financial assistance to cover a portion of a person’s cancer-related transportation expenses such as public transit, fuel, accommodations, or meals.
- CCS’s Lodge accommodations provide lodging and accommodations for people with cancer who have to travel from their community for treatment. There are currently four lodges located in Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, and Prince George.
Hope Air Funding
Hope Air provides free flights, accommodations, airport ground transportation and meal vouchers for families and individuals who must travel for medical care.
The $10 million investment will be used to increase access to more patients as well expanding their programs to include:
- Free round-trip air travel from home to hospital for both patients and travel escorts, who provide emotional and physical support.
- Up to 14 consecutive nights of free hotel accommodation for patients and escorts, where CCS lodging is unavailable.
- Free Uber or Taxi airport transportation from airport to hospital in select communities where CCS’s volunteer driving program is unavailable.
- Expansion of daily meals support for patients staying in Hope Air partner hotels.
For eligible patients, Hope Air Client makes all flight arrangements on behalf of patients and covers all costs. Hope Air’s team will also coordinate other supporting travel arrangements, including CCS’s Travel and Accommodation Services where available and providing hotel and airport transportation alternatives when needed.
How to Access
Eligibility is based on the following criteria:
- A confirmed medical appointment requiring travel.
- The required medical treatments are covered by the Provincial health plan.
- Financial need. The applicant must be willing to provide evidence of household income for the past 12 months.
Individuals can apply online using the Hope Air Travel Support Portal found on the following website at https://hopeair.ca/travel-suoport-services/. Applicants will be contacted by the client care team within two business days.
Alternatively, the application can be filled out by a social worker or health care professional https://hopeair.ca/heaIthcare-and-socia1-work-professionaIs/.