Back to News

BMO gifts $500,000 in support of cancer research and innovation in Cape Breton

BMO is making a half-million-dollar gift to the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation in support of the Cancer Care Here at Home campaign.

The donation will support the campaign’s Research and Innovation Fund, which has a goal of developing infrastructure and capacity to support health care professional-led research that will take place at Cape Breton’s new Cancer Centre, enhancing patient care and wellbeing.

“BMO is leading the way as the first bank to support the Cancer Care Here at Home Campaign with a transformational gift,” says Mike McPhee, campaign chair. “Thanks to their vision and commitment to community, oncology research here in Cape Breton will be significantly enhanced.”

The gift will also support an increased activity in clinical trials, providing patients with the opportunity to receive new and potentially lifesaving treatments. Historically, most cancer research studies in the province have occurred in the Central Zone of Nova Scotia Health (Halifax area).

“The research team at the Cape Breton Cancer Centre was integral in my husband’s cancer journey,” says Monique Cashin, wife of the late Pat Cashin. “The research team worked diligently to find treatments, prepare documents, seek government approval, complete testing, and ensure everything was in order so that my husband was ready to receive the novel treatments that allowed him to live a high quality of life for two-and-a-half years with stage IV cancer. Their efforts gave my husband and us as a family, time. Time we wouldn’t have had without their work and the treatments he was able to receive because of it. We are forever grateful.”

In honour of the $500,000 gift from BMO, the research and innovation space in Cape Breton’s new Cancer Centre will be called the ‘BMO Research and Innovation Wing.’ The Centre, currently under construction, is set to be operational in 2026.

“Our continued support for cancer treatment, innovation and research is making a positive change in people’s lives,” says Deanne Chaulk, Regional Vice President, BMO Personal Banking, Nova Scotia. “Donations like these are a key part of how we drive progress for the communities we serve across Atlantic Canada and align our actions with our purpose to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life. With one-in-two Atlantic Canadians facing a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, these are causes felt personally by our customers, employees, and their families. The BMO Research and Innovation Wing will provide patients with greater access to lifesaving treatment – closer to home – and support them through their treatment journey.”

Taking into consideration the rural nature of Cape Breton, demographics of its people, instances and varieties of cancer types, the Eastern Zone of Nova Scotia Health has been labeled a “living laboratory” for cancer research and innovation.

“Thank you to BMO for this remarkable contribution. It is through the support of our generous partners that we are able to steer change in cancer care in Nova Scotia and ensure that every individual facing the challenges of cancer experiences the very best in care, compassion, and innovation,” says Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy, Vice President of Research, Innovation & Discovery and Innovation Partnerships at Nova Scotia Health. “By enhancing clinical trials at the new Cape Breton Cancer Centre, we will be able to attract the best and brightest healthcare professionals and researchers to Cape Breton, and gather the kind of real-world evidence that provides those going through cancer treatment access to new medicines, therapies, and devices they need to fight back.”

Along with raising funds to support cutting edge research and innovation, the Cancer Care Here at Home campaign has a goal to support the purchase of vital equipment and patient programming to be housed in Cape Breton’s new state-of-the-art Cancer Centre. The current Cape Breton Cancer Centre was constructed in 1998 to sustain 16,000 visits each year. Since that time the number has nearly tripled, and today, the Centre sees more than 45,000 patient visits annually.

“This outstanding gift from BMO is a demonstration of their commitment to the people of the Eastern Zone of Nova Scotia Health,” states Paula MacNeil, CEO for the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation. “Supporting our health care workers in their efforts to investigate and provide leading cancer care in an area with such a high instance of cancer will positively impact thousands of lives in our community.”

Read more from the Cape Breton Post here.

Since 1985, the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation, in partnership with the community, has raised multi-millions to strengthen health care in Cape Breton. The Foundation is accredited under Imagine Canada’s national Standards Program, which promotes transparency of charities and nonprofits, and strengthens public confidence in organizations and the sector as a whole.

BMO Gives. Good grows here.

Helping communities thrive by supporting the organizations that sustain them and encouraging employee giving and volunteerism is at the heart of BMO’s Purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life. In 2023, our social impact included more than $84 million donated to hundreds of charities and non-profit organizations across North America to help drive progress by enabling individuals to thrive and communities to prosper. Our colleagues spent almost 62,000 hours volunteering in the community and contributed more than $31.2 million of donations through our annual employee giving program. For more information, please visit

Donate Now