Government of Canada and JDRF Canada jointly invest $33 million in research to defeat diabetes

News release

July 27, 2023 – Toronto, Ontario – Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Canada is among the ten countries with the highest rates of type 1 diabetes in the world—and with the prevalence of type 1 diabetes projected to increase in all countries over the next two decades, it is more important than ever to support research to improve our understanding of the condition, develop more effective treatments, and prevent the complications that come with it.

Today, Adam van Koeverden, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, on behalf of the Honourable Mark Holland, Minister of Health, announced that the Government of Canada, in collaboration with JDRF Canada, is investing $33 million to support 12 research projects that will work to prevent, detect, manage, and treat diabetes.

Four research teams will work on precision medicine in type 1 diabetes to tailor diabetes care to each patient’s specific needs and investigate the diversity within beta cell populations. One of these teams, led by Dr. Farid Mahmud at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, is studying how differences in genes, environments, and social factors contribute to differences in diabetes outcomes for youth with type 1 diabetes.

An additional seven teams will investigate the mental, emotional, and social effects of diabetes, and diabetes prevention and management, with an emphasis on children and young adults. Four of these projects will focus on type 1 diabetes, and three projects will focus on type 2 diabetes.

This funding will also support a national screening research consortium, led by Dr. Diane Wherrett at SickKids, that will bring together experts and people affected by diabetes, to advance screening for early-stage, pre-symptomatic type 1 diabetes in Canada.

The Government of Canada is providing funding for this investment through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), as part of the 100 Years of Insulin initiative to accelerate Canadian discoveries to defeat diabetes, in collaboration with JDRF Canada through the CIHR-JDRF partnership to defeat diabetes.


“Diabetes is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases in Canada with over 3 million people with diabetes in the country. This investment in research will improve our understanding of diabetes and will ultimately result in better supports for Canadians currently living with the condition. Thank you to all the researchers, clinicians, patients, and partners who will be part of this very important research.”

The Honourable Mark Holland
Minister of Health

“It is crucial that we understand the factors contributing to the rising prevalence of type 1 diabetes, and the impact this has on people living with it. Through supporting novel research and investigation, we can gain a deeper understanding of diabetes management and make strides towards improving outcomes for all.”

Adam van Koeverden
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

“Diabetes continues to be a major health concern for many Canadians. We know it is a leading cause of stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, and blindness and places a huge burden on Canada's health care system. That is why we developed the Framework for Diabetes in Canada—to support improved access to diabetes prevention and treatment to ensure better health outcomes for all Canadians. Research is a key component of the Framework, and today's investment will guide us towards new treatments and a healthier future for Canadians living with diabetes."

Sonia Sidhu
Member of Parliament for Brampton South

“CIHR is thrilled to continue our longstanding partnership with JDRF Canada to support these research teams. By focusing on diverse facets of diabetes care, from screening to psychosocial factors to precision medicine, these projects have the potential to transform our understanding and improve care for people living with diabetes.”

Dr. Norman Rosenblum,
Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes

“JDRF Canada is committed to improving the lives of the estimated 300,000 Canadians living with type 1 diabetes and investing in research that will get us closer to cures. We are grateful for our partnership with CIHR and this investment, as it will allow us to accelerate research that both focuses on the immense burden of self-management that accompanies type 1 diabetes, as well as take us beyond insulin therapy. It is through these continued investments that Canada will maintain its place on the world stage as a leader in type 1 diabetes research until the day we can give those living with this disease freedom from it.”

Dave Prowten
CEO, JDRF Canada

“Our study will contribute to a greater understanding of how genetic, physiological, and social factors impact differences in diabetes outcomes so we can tailor treatment options to optimize care. This is vital to our efforts to evaluate precision medicine approaches that can be implemented and equitably applied in youth living with diabetes.”

Dr. Farid Mahmud
Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
Staff physician, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)

“Thanks to our team of researchers and patient partners across Canada, we are creating a pilot screening program to help identify children at risk of type 1 diabetes, aligned with the values and preferences of Canadians. With earlier diagnosis and connections with ongoing research initiatives, we can hopefully prevent serious complications at the time of diagnosis and increase access to treatments that may delay or prevent type 1 diabetes.”

Dr. Diane Wherrett
Professor, Division of Endocrinology, University of Toronto
Staff physician, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)

Quick facts

  • Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the pancreas does not produce insulin or cannot effectively use or produce enough insulin.

  • Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that results in lifelong insulin deficiency.

  • While major advances have been made with respect to the treatment of type 1 diabetes, the disease continues to pose an enormous burden for patients, families, communities, and the health care system, contributing to reduced quality of life, shortened life expectancy, and serious complications including heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and leg and foot amputations.

  • In October 2022, the Government of Canada released the Framework for Diabetes in Canada. The Framework provides a common policy direction to help align efforts and to support improved access to prevention and treatment for all types of diabetes to ensure better health outcomes for all Canadians.

  • Over the past five years, CIHR has invested more than $250M in diabetes research.

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Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) we know that research has the power to change lives. As Canada's health research investment agency, we collaborate with partners and researchers to support the discoveries and innovations that improve our health and strengthen our health care system.

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