Diabetes1 is an epidemic — it directly affects one in three Canadians and costs our health care system $27 billion per year, with associated costs rising at a rate of about 40 percent per decade. Each year, the disease claims thousands of Canadian lives and leaves tens of thousands disabled due to complications. Diabetes affects Indigenous Canadians far more adversely. What Canada is doing to address this epidemic is not working.

Diabetes Canada and nearly 100 partner organizations believe that Canada needs a national strategy — a best practice widely recommended by the World Health Organization — to prevent and manage diabetes now. 

Diabetes 360˚ is that strategy. Developed through rigorous efforts over the last year and a half, it contains evidence-based recommendations aimed at improving patient outcomes. It will enhance the prevention, screening, and management of diabetes to achieve better health for Canadians while improving access to culturally-relevant care and life-saving medications and devices.

Diabetes Canada recommends that Budget 2019 establish a national partnership, spearheaded by the federal government, that invests $150 million in funding over seven years to support the implementation of Diabetes 360°. Concurrently, the federal government should facilitate the creation of Indigenous-specific strategic approaches led and owned by Indigenous groups.  The payoff could be enormous. Within the next decade alone, we could prevent more than one million cases of diabetes and save $36 billion in health care costs.

Canada has a proud history as an innovator in diabetes, including Dr. Frederick Banting’s insulin discovery in 1921, which won Canada’s first Nobel prize.  The 100th anniversary of this discovery is fast approaching, and by implementing Diabetes 360˚, Canada can retake a leadership role in the fight against diabetes.

1 Diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which the body either cannot produce insulin or cannot properly use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that controls the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood. The body needs insulin to use sugar as an energy source.