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Canadian Cancer Society: Consolidating Canada’s Cancer Charity Sector (The)

Case 9 40 2018 005
Case published in the International Journal of Case Studies in Management, Vol. 16, No. 3
Languages : 
  • English
  • Strategic management,
  • Mergers,
  • Non-profit,
  • Health sector
Year of production : 
Registration date : 
Teaching notes included : 

In October 2016, a merger between the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) was announced. CCS was the largest cancer charity in Canada (revenues of $184 million in 2016), offering support programs and information services to patients and their families throughout Canada. CBCF was a large site-specific cancer charity (revenues of $36 million in 2016) and Canada’s third-largest charity funder of cancer research. With declining donations and increasing administrative costs, both charities were facing financial challenges.

This merger between the two charities was the largest in Canadian history. The leadership of both organizations hoped it would solve their financial problems by helping them to gain operational efficiencies and increase market power. Students are asked to decide whether the merger made strategic sense for both organizations. The answer lies in how well it addressed the financial, leadership, and brand awareness challenges facing each organization, while enabling them to remain relevant and impactful in an increasingly competitive market.

Primary domain : 
Management  - Strategy
Secondary domain : 
Cooperative and nonprofit sectors
Sectors : 
  • Healthcare
Source : 
HEC Montréal
Type : 
Traditional case (Descriptive or analytical case)
Type of data used in the production of the case : 
Factual data that is public and free of potentially litigious content
Event location : 
Year of start of the event : 
Year the event ended : 
Not available
Business size : 
Large enterprise
Main themes covered
  • Mergers
  • External and internal analyses 
Teaching objectives

The purpose of this case is to help non-profit managers and managers-in-training understand the issues and key success factors to be considered when contemplating a merger in this field. In addition to financial issues, these include strategic objectives, organizational positioning, operations and human resources, and – most importantly – how the organization carries out its mission and makes an impact. By examining a major non-profit merger and conducting an internal and external strategic diagnosis of the organizations and their environment, students will learn how to critically evaluate strategic options and ensure the success of such projects.

Concepts and theories related to the case

External and internal analyses