Key Statistics1 2015 2025
Estimated diabetes prevalence (n) 60,200 84,500
Estimated annual out-of-pocket cost for type 1 diabetes administering insulin by manual injection, based on $43,000 annual income ($)2 $3,021
Estimated annual out-of-pocket cost for type 1 diabetes administering insulin with an insulin pump, based on $43,000 annual income ($)2 $2,910
Estimated annual out-of-pocket cost for type 2 diabetes, based on $43,000 annual income ($)2 $3,396
Estimated diabetes prevalence increase (%) 40% from 2015-2025

Impact of diabetes

  • Diabetes complications are associated with premature death. It is estimated that one of ten deaths in Canadian adults was attributable to diabetes in 2008/09.3
  • People with diabetes are more than three times more likely to be hospitalized with cardiovascular disease, 12 times more likely to be hospitalized with end-stage renal disease and over 20 times more likely to be hospitalized for a non-traumatic lower limb amputation compared to the general population.4
  • Thirty per cent of people with diabetes have clinically relevant depressive symptoms; individuals with depression have an approximately 60 per cent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.4
  • Foot ulceration affects an estimated 15 to 25 per cent of people with diabetes. One-third of amputations in 2011-2012 were performed on people reporting a diabetic foot wound.5
  • Some populations are at higher risk of type 2 diabetes, such as those of South Asian, Asian, African, Hispanic or Aboriginal descent, those who are overweight, older or have low income. Diabetes rates are three to five times higher in First Nations, a situation compounded by barriers to care for Aboriginal people.4
  • Fifty-seven percent of Canadians with diabetes reported they cannot adhere to prescribed treatment due to the high out-of-pocket cost of needed medications, devices and supplies. The average cost for these supports is >3% of income or >$1,500.6
  • As a result of stigma or fear of stigma, 37 per cent of Canadians with type 2 diabetes surveyed by the Canadian Diabetes Association reported they do not feel comfortable disclosing their diabetes.7
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemia (elevated blood sugar) may affect mood and behaviourand a student’s ability to learn and to participate in school activities as well as lead to emergency situations, if left untreated.

Highlights of diabetes-related policy, programs and services in Newfoundland and Labrador

  • In 2010, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador introduced public coverage for insulin pumps and supplies for children and youth up to 25 years. N.L. has also announced coverage of up to $2,500 for insulin pumps for public sector employees.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador offers diabetes education programs for Aboriginal populations.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador’s wellness plan and Go Healthy initiative focus on physical activity, healthy body weight and tobacco control. Physical education is mandatory to graduate from high school in the province.
  • In June 2015, the Minister of Health and Community Services for Newfoundland and Labrador announced work on a new provincial diabetes registry had begun.
  • New diabetes medications have been approved, and covered under the provincial formulary.

What does the Diabetes Charter mean for Newfoundland and Labrador?

The Diabetes Charter for Canada (the Charter) clearly outlines the support N.L. residents with diabetes need to live to their full health potential, including quality diabetes care, education, programs and services, medications, devices, supplies and other supports. Commitments within the Charter address the unique needs of people living with diabetes in the province. For example:

  • The province has the oldest population and the median family income average is among the lowest compared with other provinces in Canada.8
  • The province also has the highest rate of overweight, obesity and prediabetes.9
  • N.L. has a rural population higher than the national average - accessing care for people with diabetes is more challenging in rural areas across Canada than in urban areas.10
  • These populations all have a higher risk of developing diabetes and serious complications from the disease.11 The costs of needed medications and other supports impose a heavy burden on people who live on low income.
The Charter notes that governments should address the unique needs and disparities in care and outcomes of vulnerable populations who experience higher rates of diabetes and complications and/or significant barriers to diabetes care and support. The Charter also notes that health-care providers have the right to work in teams, either at the same location or virtually where support from specialists who provide diabetes care can be obtained within a reasonable time. Finally, the Charter notes that people with diabetes should be able to receive care no matter where they live. These supports will help residents with diabetes in Newfoundland and Labrador manage their disease and related complications.

1 Estimated diabetes statistics in Canada are generated by the Canadian Diabetes Cost Model.

2 Estimated out-of-pocket costs for type 1 and type 2 diabetes are calculated based on composite case studies as noted in the Canadian Diabetes Association’s report The Burden of Out-of-Pocket Costs for Canadians with Diabetes. As such, these situations apply to many people with diabetes in Newfoundland and Labrador, but not all. The costs are 2011 estimates.

3 Public Health Agency of Canada. (2011). Diabetes in Canada: Facts and figures from a public health perspective. Ottawa, Ont.: Public Health Agency of Canada. Retrieved from

4 Canadian Diabetes Association Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committee. (2013). Canadian Diabetes Association 2013 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada. Can J Diabetes, 37 (suppl 1).

5 Canadian Institute for Health Information. (2013). Compromised wounds in Canada. Ottawa, Ont.: Canadian Institute for Health Information. Retrieved from

6 Canadian Diabetes Association. (2011). The burden of out-of-pocket costs for Canadians with diabetes. Toronto, Ont.: Canadian Diabetes Association. Available at

7 Canadian Diabetes Association. (March 2011). Diabetes: Canada at the tipping point. The public perspective: a national survey. Available at

8 Diabetes: Canada at the Tipping Point – Charting a New Path, op.cit., p. 18

9 Ibid.,p.10

10 41% of residents live in rural areas compared to 59% who live in urban areas. Statistics Canada. Population, urban and rural, by province and territory (Newfoundland and Labrador), 2011 Census. Available at:

11 Diabetes: Canada at the Tipping Point – Charting a New Path, op.cit., pp 17-19.