Cancer Care Ontario

Building the foundations of a government healthcare portal to consolidate more than 20 unique web properties and deliver knowledge to healthcare professionals, patients and families.

Cancer Care Ontario

Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) is a provincial government agency in Canada that was created to drive quality and continuous improvement in prevention, screening and care for patients of cancer and chronic kidney disease.

CCO was looking for a single vendor that could stand up to WCMS guidelines and maintain their current websites and provide a scalable solution with the ability to manage and present content according to metadata. - Cancer Care Ontario plays an important role in equipping health professionals, organizations and policy-makers with up-to-date cancer knowledge and tools to help in the prevention of cancer, and in the delivery of high-quality patient care.

CCO engages cancer patients and their families by “driving quality, accountability, innovation and value.” As the owner of a number of different websites created, manage,d and built using a proprietary non-open source solution, the agency was looking to consolidate their properties, learn a new web technology with unlimited functional possibilities, and then build the portal themselves, to lead the way in delivering knowledge.

Cancer Care Ontario was looking for a Web Content Management System (WCMS) to not only maintain their current websites but also to provide a scalable solution with the ability to dynamically manage and present content according to metadata. To do this, they were searching for a single vendor able to offer a system that meets Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 level AA and that could easily be built in Canada’s two official languages, English and French. The hosted technology needed to allow for a content repository and published websites while offering a number of tools and enhanced functionality. It also needed to enable content creation and management while facilitating editing, workflow cycles, metadata and more.


Cancer Care Ontario knew that their web properties were due for a major overhaul. Their legacy websites were running on proprietary solutions that lacked the functionality and security they required. CCO put out a detailed Request for Proposal (RFP). In partnership with Acquia, OPIN Software was selected to build the foundation for their new portal using Drupal on Acquia’s Cloud Hosting environment, and to provide comprehensive training to the CCO team.

The CCO’s more than 20 web properties were managed by a number of internal stakeholders and needed consolidation. There were different authoring environments, processes and workflows, making sharing content difficult to do and creating inconsistent site visitor experiences. Many of their sites had their own “look and feel,” and maintenance and updating practices were disjointed, leaving the websites vulnerable.

The team at CCO was new to Drupal. They understood that it was the tool of choice for governments, healthcare and other enterprise-sized organizations. They were aware of its security and scalability – especially when paired with the Acquia hosting solution.

CCO needed to consolidate and streamline their websites and their efforts. As a government organization, they are mandated to be accountable for their expenses and overhead. They concluded it would be best to utilize the technical expertise of OPIN’s development team to build the foundation for their new cloud approach, while taking advantage of OPIN’s highly-regarded, tailored approach to training to leverage the technology and their resources in the most productive way possible.

Cancer Care Ontario's Web Component Major Overhaul

Backed by OPIN Software

Learn how OPIN builds digital projects like this one


  • Build the infrastructure to consolidate Cancer Care Ontario’s 20+ web properties onto one platform, to better manage and govern information, updates and processes
  • Create a scalable CMS using a complete and secure web-based hosting solution
  • Utilize a hosting environment that is available 24x7 with target availability of 99.9%
  • Build a fully responsive web CMS that works seamlessly for mobile, tablet and desktop devices without needing to re-render for each site variation
  • Ensure the new website is available in English and French
  • Provide advanced search functionality sitewide on public-facing properties
  • Build to WCAG accessibility standards and ensure site administrator can audit pages for conformance
  • Configure capability for creating path aliases, to facilitate SEO
  • Provide editorial workflow capabilities
  • Provide RSS functionality and ability to push content to social services
  • Train CCO team to use the platform, build out the site and configure modules


Acquia’s Enterprise Cloud hosting with a Drupal 7 installation formed the foundation of a scalable solution on a single platform to better manage the 20+ web properties. With advanced site-wide search capabilities, the bilingual solution complies with WCAG accessibility standards and can accommodate additional functionality in the future.

The Government team began slowly by building a drug formulary site on the foundation that works as a knowledge repository of drugs and options for patients. It allowed the team to begin small, learn Drupal and then expand their offerings. It also gave them the opportunity to complete and test the setup and configurations needed to best address their website visitors.

Five days of training provided the Government team with a strong knowledge base, from Drupal fundamentals to theme development to configuring Apache Solr. The first site is projected to be live at the end of 2016. Additional sites and functionality will follow.


The streamlined approach to authoring has given the client an easier and more accountable way to build and expand their web properties. They have become adept at using Drupal and building their first website, being able to manage, modify and build elements as required. They also have the understanding needed to continue to build and control their remaining web properties, and they can continue to expand their program as their business needs change and grow over time.

Acquia’s Enterprise Cloud Hosting provides unlimited future expandability and the ability to effectively respond to potential spikes in traffic. It also provides the technology teams with a seamless and invaluable development, staging, and live environment. Insight Analysis is included with the hosting solution and performs essential security and performance audits. Acquia’s 24/7/365 support and site monitoring facilitate continuous improvements.

Starting with the build and launch of the organization’s “Drug Formulary Project,” the work between OPIN and CCO continues as we support CCO’s development and training needs as additional sites roll out, work on providing added complex functionality and upgrades to the portal, and provide overall support as it is built.

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