Key Statistics[1] 2015 2025
Estimated diabetes prevalence (n/%) 3.4 million/9.3% 5 million/12.1%
Estimated prediabetes prevalence in Canada (n/%) (age 20+) 5.7 million/22.1% 6.4 million/23.2%
Estimated diabetes prevalence increase (%) 44% from 2015-2025
Estimated diabetes cost increase (%) 25% 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.[2]
  • People with diabetes are over 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.[3]
  • Thirty per cent of people with diabetes have clinically relevant depressive symptoms; individuals with depression have an approximately 60% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.3
  • Foot ulceration affects an estimated 15-25% of people with diabetes. One-third of amputations in 2011-2012 were performed on people reporting a diabetic foot wound.[4]
  • 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 3-5 times higher in First Nations, a situation compounded by barriers to care for Aboriginal people.3
  • 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.[5]
  • As a result of stigma or fear of stigma, 37% of Canadians with type 2 diabetes surveyed by the Canadian Diabetes Association reported they do not feel comfortable disclosing their diabetes.[6]

Highlights of diabetes-related policy and programs at the federal level

  • Canadian Diabetes Strategy (CDS): Created in 1999 with initial funding of $115 million over five years, the Strategy focuses on the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes and its complications. In 2005, the CDS became part of the Integrated Strategy on Healthy Living and Chronic Disease, with increased funding of $18 million per year. The Strategy focuses on promoting health; preventing chronic disease by reducing risks for Canadians who are at high risk; and supporting early detection and management of chronic diseases.
  • Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative (ADI): The ADI focuses on increasing awareness of diabetes among First Nations, Inuit and Métis in order to reduce the prevalence and incidence of diabetes in these high-risk communities. The initial funding of $58 million over 1999-2004 was expanded to $190 million over 2005-2010. Health Canada is investing over $50 million per year to support the third phase (2010-2015). The ADI supports over 600 programs for Aboriginal people living with diabetes in Canada.
  • Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System (CCDSS): The CCDSS is a collaborative network of provincial and territorial surveillance systems, supported by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). Starting with diabetes surveillance and formerly known as the National Diabetes Surveillance System (NDSS), the CCDSS is expanding to include other chronic disease conditions.
  • In 2011, Canada endorsed a United Nations Declaration on preventing and controlling non-communicable diseases. The Declaration acknowledges the four main non-communicable diseases as cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, and cardiovascular disease.

What does the Diabetes Charter mean for Canada?

The Diabetes Charter for Canada (the Charter) clearly outlines the support Canadians with diabetes need to live to their full potential. Commitments within the Charter address the unique needs of people living with diabetes in Canada. For example:

  • Canada is home to immigrants from populations at higher risk of type 2 diabetes. The three largest visible minority groups in 2011 – South Asians, Chinese and Blacks – accounted for 61.3% of the total visible minority population.[7]
  • Aboriginal people represent 4.3% of the Canadian population.[8] First Nations people, who make up over 60% of Aboriginal people in Canada,[9] have prevalence rates 3-5 times that of non-First Nations populations. The diabetes prevalence in the Métis population was 7.3% compared to 5% in the non-Aboriginal population in 2008/09.[10]
  • Over 60 per cent of Canadian adults are overweight or obese.[11] Close to one third (31.5%) of children and adolescents are overweight or obese.[12]
  • There are significant variances in the rates of diabetes and prediabetes across Canada, with the highest rates in the Atlantic provinces.[13] The Atlantic provinces also have higher rural populations compared to other provinces in Canada – accessing care for people with diabetes is more challenging in rural areas than in urban areas.[14]

The Charter outlines the right of people with diabetes to information, education and care that take into account a person’s culture and language. The Charter also puts forth the right of people with diabetes to high quality care regardless of where they live. The Charter notes that governments have a responsibility to 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. These supports will help Canadians with diabetes manage their disease and related complications.


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

[2] 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 http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/cd-mc/publications/diabetes-diabete/facts-figures-faits-chiffres-2011/index-eng.php

[3] 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).

[4] Canadian Institute for Health Information. (2013). Compromised wounds in Canada. Ottawa, Ont.: Canadian Institute for Health Information. Retrieved from https://secure.cihi.ca/free_products/AiB_Compromised_Wounds_EN.pdf

[5] Canadian Diabetes Association. (2011). The burden of out-of-pocket costs for Canadians with diabetes. Toronto, Ont.: Canadian Diabetes Association. Available at http://www.diabetes.ca/CDA/media/documents/publications-and-newsletters/advocacy-reports/burden-of-out-of-pocket-costs-for-canadians-with-diabetes.pdf

[6] Canadian Diabetes Association. (March 2011). Diabetes: Canada at the tipping point. The public perspective: a national survey. Available at http://www.diabetes.ca/CDA/media/documents/publications-and-newsletters/advocacy-reports/environics-opinion-poll-report-english.pdf

[7] Statistics Canada. (2012). Immigration and Ethnocultural Diversity in Canada. National Household Survey, 2011. Retrieved from http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/as-sa/99-010-x/99-010-x2011001-eng.pdf

[8] Statistics Canada. (2012). Aboriginal Peoples in Canada: First Nations People, Métis and Inuit. National Household Survey, 2011. Retrieved from http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/as-sa/99-011-x/99-011-x2011001-eng.pdf

[9] Ibid.

[10] 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 http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/cd-mc/publications/diabetes-diabete/facts-figures-faits-chiffres-2011/pdf/facts-figures-faits-chiffres-eng.pdf

[11] Statistics Canada.(2012). Body composition of Canadian adults, 2009-2011. Retrieved from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-625-x/2012001/article/11708-eng.htm

[12] Statistics Canada. (2012). Overweight and obesity in children and adolescents: results from the 2009 to 2011. Canadian Health Measures Survey. Retrieved from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2012003/article/11706-eng.htm

[13] Canadian Diabetes Association. (2011). Diabetes: Canada at the Tipping Point – Charting a New Path. Pp. 10-11.

[14] Statistics Canada. (2012). Population, urban and rural, by province and territory, 2011 Census. Available at: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/demo62a-eng.htm