The society is hearing from worried patients and doctors across the country, said Dan Demers, the group's director of public issues.
"We shouldn't have to wait for a crisis to respond," said Demers.
The cancer society urged the federal government to:
Ensure there is mandatory listing of unavailable drugs by drug manufacturer.
Develop early warning systems to identify potential drug shortages.
Put systems in place to prevent shortages from escalating.
Work with other jurisdictions to investigate the root causes of the shortages and act to prevent them where possible.
Canada's supply of injectable drugs such as painkillers, antibiotics and anesthetics became more precarious following a fire in the boiler room at Sandoz Canada's plant in Boucherville, Que.
"Production has resumed in the portion of the plant that was not directly affected by the incident, which took place on March 4," the company said in a email to CBC News on Monday. "Our objective is to restore previous levels of supply as soon as possible, and we will make every effort to meet medical needs, while ensuring consistent high quality standards."
The company was unable to quantify how much more capacity it now has.
Anthony Dale, vice-president of policy and public affairs at the Ontario Hospital Association in Toronto, called it "outrageous" that one company could have this kind of effect on drug supplies.
Dale also called for a national strategy, noting hospitals are taking inventory of their supplies and trying to share and to compound or carefully mix drugs from raw ingredients under sterile conditions.
Hospitals and drug purchasers have been holding daily conference calls to mitigate shortages. Doctors are carefully selecting patients who can swallow to give them oral forms of the medications, said Myrella Roy, executive director of the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists in Ottawa.
Last week, officials with Alberta Health Services asked doctors to conserve injectable medications. Cancer patients were asked to get oral anti-nausea medications instead of injections before chemotherapy treatment.
In mid-February, Sandoz informed hospitals and other health-care clients that it was partially closing its plant in Boucherville while it improved its process to meet U.S. safety standards, the Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society said in a news release.
The company told the anesthesiologists group that dozens of critical medications will no longer be manufactured while others will be available on "allocation" based upon previous usage, a manufacturing and delivery situation that could last 12 to 18 months, the group said in their release.
Health Canada said last week it is working to identify alternate sources of supply and expedite approvals for any drug companies that meet Canadian standards for safety and effectiveness.
29March 2012 (Staffordshire) - A NN and Ewan Munro have not sat idle during the eight years in their home at this surprising semi. The couple has put in a new high efficiency gas combi boiler, rewired throughout, put in a new fitted kitchen with proper slate tiling laid there and in the hall, hung new doors, installed double glazing, put in a new bathroom with a Jacuzzi spa bath, created a loft room, planted a magnificent garden and created a driveway for several cars.
The result is that the property at 108, Harrison Road, Norton, is a genuinely surprising and very appealing family home ready to be moved into tomorrow.
My first impression of the house is that it is very light. Ewan knocked down a stud wall erected by the previous owner so the lounge and diner are now one room stretching more than 26 feet.
With sliding patio doors at the back overlooking the garden and glass panelled doors from the hall and the kitchen and a generous bay window at the front as well, the room is flooded with light.
It is also the perfect place for Ann to sit and watch her garden and its visitors. She says: "It is full of life and colour. Squirrels come and feed here and when it is in bloom it is like having the countryside in the back garden. We only know we have neighbours for four months of the year because when everything is in leaf it is just a riot of colour.''
The modern fitted kitchen has a range of Shaker style base and wall units, all the usual facilities plus space for a washing machine and tumble dryer and a double glazed door to the drive at the side and back garden.
There is understairs storage in the hall and more on the landing.
Upstairs the master bedroom at the back of the house has mirrored built in wardrobes, there is a second generous bedroom and the third can be used as either a study or as a single and the couple say there has been bunk beds in there too.
Above them is a real surprise and delight feature because the loft has been converted into a wonderful room with Velux windows and is ideal either as a snug or games area for children.
The bathroom has been completely modernised with a Jacuzzi spa bath where you can enjoy a gentle massaging effect as you soak and relax and there is a walk in shower unit in the corner too.
One further benefit of this house is that Norton sits high up overlooking Stoke-on-Trent so there are good views over the city and as Ann says: "On Bonfire Night we don't need any fireworks here – we can just watch the sky light up below!''
Outside is the large gravel drive at the front and a garage/workshop plus a wooden garden cabin at the back and the well stocked and landscaped garden which has been designed to be low maintenance. The patio area also has external power.
Ewan, a plumbing and heating engineer, says: "This is an extremely solid family house, properly built and we have taken it to the next level with our modernisation work. It is in a great location, with good schools around, is 10 minutes from Hanley and on the edge of the Moorlands.
"It is in a semi rural setting which provides all the amenities of the city but and the countryside is just a few minutes away or, when the squirrels and birds come into the garden and everything is in bloom, is literally on your doorstep.''
The couple has only recently put it on the market at £129,995 and it can be sold chain free.