Rising diabetes rates, gaps in care and stigma addressed in new report from CDA

November 30, 2015

Vancouver, B.C. – Urgent government action is needed to address gaps in the care and resources available to Canadians living with diabetes in the face of a rapidly growing prevalence rate for the disease.

This and other key findings and recommendations are contained in the 2015 Report on Diabetes: Driving Change, released by the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) today.

The number of Canadians living with diabetes has more than doubled since 2000, and will grow by another 40 per cent by 2025. Today, more than 10 million Canadian children and adults have diabetes or prediabetes. Almost another million Canadians are living with type 2 diabetes but don’t know it; they have not yet been diagnosed.

The CDA has identified four key areas for action and recommends government intervention to:

  • prevent amputations;
  • reduce the number of cases of diabetes in Aboriginal communities;
  • eliminate stigma and discrimination against people with diabetes; and,
  • improve support for children with diabetes in school.

“In the Diabetes Charter for Canada, we outlined the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders, including people with diabetes, and established guiding principles meant to serve as a catalyst for change to ensure that people with diabetes can live to their full potential,” says CDA President and CEO Rick Blickstead. “There are gaps we need to address so people living with diabetes and those who may be at risk for type 2 diabetes can access the care and support they need to live the healthiest lives possible. The new Driving Change report provides benchmarks to measure progress in the care and support of people with diabetes going forward.”

Key findings in the report include:

  • The prevalence of diabetes, its complications and some modifiable risk factors (e.g. overweight and obesity, tobacco use) are disproportionately higher in Aboriginal communities.
  • Support is needed to address stigma about diabetes and mental health issues among people with diabetes: 33% of Canadians with diabetes are hesitant to disclose their diabetes, and 33% of Canadians with diabetes experience anxiety as a result of their disease.
  • Canadians with diabetes are not receiving the recommended level of care and timely education to prevent complications. Many of them, particularly those with lower incomes, do not have adequate insurance coverage for eye and dental care, specialist foot care, prescription medications and supplies.
  • High out-of-pocket costs and limited public plan coverage compromise the ability of Canadians to manage diabetes; some must choose between paying for food and rent or buying medications and supplies.

“We have a responsibility to address the misunderstanding and discrimination experienced by people living with diabetes,” says Dr. Jan Hux, Chief Science Officer for the CDA. “Stigma and discrimination can compromise the ability of people with diabetes to take care of themselves, and in turn can lead to the development of serious complications.”

To address the issues in the new Driving Change report, the CDA is also forming a national Diabetes Caucus, a non-partisan group of Members of Parliament who will analyze, review and provide recommendations for public policies to champion positive change at the federal level. The Driving Change report will inform much of the work of the Caucus in 2016.

Download the 2015 Report on Diabetes: Driving Change

Full report (84 pages)

Summary document (15 pages)

One-page information sheet

About the CDA
The CDA is the registered national charity that helps the more than 10 million Canadians with diabetes or prediabetes live healthy lives, and educates those at risk. In communities across Canada, the CDA:

  • offers a wide array of support services to members of the public;
  • offers resources to health-care professionals on best practices to care for people with diabetes;
  • advocates to governments, schools, workplaces and others on behalf of people with diabetes; and,
  • funds research on better treatments and to find a cure.

For more information, visit diabetes.ca or call 1-800-BANTING (226-8464).


For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact:

Harriet Lee
Communications Manager
Canadian Diabetes Association
Cell: 416-432-0520


NationTalk Partners & Sponsors Learn More