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BMO Centre of Innovation

Program Creation, Learnings and Quality Assurance

In every way possible, Wellspring Cancer Support strives to maximize its mission impact to support people and families living with cancer across Canada. Our programs and services are supported from, created by and informed by those living a cancer experience. 

Several processes are undertaken in support of program quality. 

BMO Centre of Innovation

The BMO Centre of Innovation is Wellspring’s way of realizing its commitment to those who seek support. It is an investment in research and development to create programs that are based on current knowledge, with defined goals, expert leadership and high quality outcomes.

Program Development and Testing

The engine of the BMO Centre of Innovation is a rigorous process of development and testing that seeks input from experts in their fields, new knowledge from the psychosocial literature and, most importantly, patients and their family members who participate in programs at Wellspring. 

All new programs are subjected to a full and rigorous development and ongoing development process. 

View some of our specially developed programs:

Money Matters

Professional Case Managers help people navigate the maze of income replacement programs when too ill to work, including assistance to understand, assess eligibility and access federal, provincial, and employer programs. Money Matters also provides assistance with options for drug coverage and advice related to returning to work. In some cases, people can access specialized clinics related to financial advice, employment and disability law, seasonal income tax for those with low income/assets and pro bono Wills.

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Cancer and the Workplace

With an integrated rehabilitation, educational and support model, Wellspring offers Returning to Work for cancer patients who are anticipating a return to work. Back at Work is a monthly psycho-educational program for patients who have returned to work and wish ongoing support to sustain their employment and wellness. Topics differ each month and are led by experts in their field.

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Cancer Exercise

Exercise and rehabilitation play an important role in helping patients cope with treatment and its side-effects, and recover health. For some types of cancer, exercise has shown to reduce the risk of recurrence. Wellspring offers the most comprehensive community-based cancer exercise program in Canada. Led by qualified Physiotherapists, Kinesiologists and Exercise Physiologists, patients are individually assessed, prescribed customized exercise regimens, and closely supervised in their exercise plans through a 30-week program.

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Cancer and nutrition go hand-in-hand from diagnosis through to long-term wellness. Nourish programs are routinely updated to incorporate new scientific knowledge, and the education is complemented with hands-on demonstrations and food samplings in Wellspring’s teaching kitchens.

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The Healing Journey

The Healing Journey is a comprehensive, 5-level program developed by Dr. Alastair Cunningham of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and is based on 30 years of research. Levels 1 and 2 introduce patients and their caregivers to the benefits of, and evidence for, supportive care in cancer and provide a sampling of a wide range of coping techniques. Levels 3 and higher continue to address support and coping practices and explore the spiritual and existential dimensions of cancer.

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Quality Assurance

Wellspring’s program model includes quality assurance features such as: 

  • Minimum credentials of leaders 
  • Where applicable, credentials and areas of expertise from guest experts 
  • Required training for new leaders 
  • Reference and police checks 
  • Ongoing evaluation 

The System Performance Review (SPR) 

Wellspring is an affiliation of network organizations across Canada, which began in 1992 in Toronto by Anne Armstrong-Gibson who was determined to fill the void for others that she experienced living with cancer. As part of the network, all affiliate organizations are subject to regular and rigorous external evaluation by Wellspring Cancer Support Foundation to ensure all affiliate staff, volunteers, and Program Leaders are fulfilling their commitments to the Wellspring brand in delivering high quality, evidence-informed programs and services for people living with cancer. 

SPR is a comprehensive, multi-modal evaluation strategy to assess the strength and efficacy of all key components that comprise a Wellspring organization. It is a means to objectively and rigorously assess each key area and, from those findings, identify ways of improving the organization’s working strategies to maximize mission impact, system efficiencies, reach, growth, and long-term sustainability. 

The primary objective of the SPR is to create, and support, a continual and shared learning process that strengthens the inner workings of individual Wellspring organizations that are affiliates of the Wellspring Cancer Support Foundation, and also the Wellspring network as a whole. 

Annual Mission Surveys 

In addition to the SPR, all Wellspring organizations participate in an annual Mission Survey. This survey is sent to all Wellspring members and asks a range of questions, from service quality to broader quality of life measures.

Results from our most recent Mission Survey can be found under Our Impact.


Wellspring welcomes the opportunity to acquire knowledge about the efficacy of everything we do beyond our evaluation efforts at Wellspring. 

Research protocols complement Wellspring’s standard data collection and aim to acquire new knowledge that deepens understanding of supportive care needs or program outcomes. This knowledge supports Wellspring’s program development process and provides a presentation and publication platform to share the knowledge and enhance Wellspring’s reputation. Research projects can be constructed by Wellspring for its own purposes, or be conducted in collaboration with a credible academic or institutional research organization. 

Proudly supported by
BMO Financial Group.