Sun Life Financial is committed to the prevention of diabetes and its related complications. Our funding for diabetes programs encourages and helps in prevention, promotes awareness, furthers innovative advances in research and provides specialized care.
National partnerships and programs:
University Health Network (UHN)
Sun Life Financial and UHN have been partners in the fight against diabetes since 2012. Our support funds transformational research, as well as promoting and providing prevention and care programs. The Sun Life Financial Banting and Best Diabetes Clinics, the Sun Life Financial Chair in Diabetes and the Sun Life Financial Professorship, Wellness and Diabetes Education are all part of this partnership.
- Sun Life Financial Professorship, Wellness and Diabetes Education. Dr. Lori MacCallum is the Sun Life Financial Professor in Wellness and Diabetes Education. She focuses on knowledge translation that modifies behaviours, such as changing attitudes towards personal health, and understanding people’s ability to alter their lifestyle to improve wellness.
- Sun Life Financial Chair in Diabetes. Dr. Gary Lewis is the inaugural Sun Life Financial Chair in Diabetes, where he plays a key role in the development of innovative diabetes healthcare, prevention and research.
Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada understand the critical role that physical recreation and nutrition play in the life-long health of Canadian children. Sun Life Financial is a proud sponsor of the Get BUSY program, which tackles the growing problems of inactivity and obesity by getting children and youth involved in physical and healthy eating activities and educating them about the importance of making healthy life choices. This program aims to increase school-age (age 8-12) children’s physical activity levels and access to healthy foods, improve attitudes and knowledge about active healthy living, increase youth leadership skills, and increase family engagement in learning about active, healthy living.
Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA)
In partnership with the CDA we are supporting a campaign aimed at increasing diabetes awareness and encouraging Canadians to get themselves screened for the disease through the CANRISK assessment tool.
Walk to Cure Diabetes
Sun Life Financial is a national sponsor of the JDRF’s (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) Walk to Cure Diabetes for 2014-2016. Held in over 70 communities across Canada, this annual event raises much-needed funds for JDRF to help find a cure and to increase education and awareness of type 1 diabetes.
Sun Life Financial Kick Diabetes
Sun Life Financial Kick Diabetes supports preventive research and raises awareness in communities across Canada. In 2014, for every tweet or retweet of #SunLifeKickDiabetes, during both the CFL’s regular and playoff seasons, Sun Life Financial donated $1 to JDRF, up to $60,000. This was in addition to a $102 donation, in honour of the 102nd Grey Cup Championship, for each successful field goal kicked during the CFL’s regular season up to $40,000, for a total maximum donation of $100,000 to JDRF.
Taking our commitment to diabetes to new heights, we’ve funded a unique organization called Hope Air. This charity has been arranging free flights for Canadians who live in rural or remote communities to receive specialized medical care since 1986. Since medical expertise or specialized medical technologies typically exist in larger cities, these flights are for people who cannot otherwise afford to seek this life-saving medical attention.
We recently asked Canadians to tell us about the last time they were on an airplane. Hear the surprising stories and learn how Sun Life together with Hope Air is closing the gap between home and hospital (video in English only).
Regional partnerships and programs:
University of British Columbia (UBC)/Canadian Men’s Health Foundation (CMHF)
With Sun Life Financial’s support, the UBC/CMHF recently launched You Check, a gender-based, online self-risk assessment program. The tool, created by UBC, is the first men's online health awareness tool of its kind. You Check provides men with a customized report, suggestions for improving their quality of life and advice on how to establish healthy habits. Launched by the new Canadian Men's Health Foundation (CMHF), You Check enables men to assess their risk for serious illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, depression, erectile dysfunction, prostate cancer, low testosterone and osteoporosis. The female version of this tool is currently in development.
The Patient Care Industry Collaborative - Saskatchewan Diabetes project has been established as an equal partnership of corporate donors. The goal of the project is to demonstrate the value of the broad pharmacy industry and players, in coming together with government, primary care teams and patients to support better care for individuals with diabetes.
CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation
In May 2013, Sun Life Financial committed $1 million to the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation, aimed at expanding their CIRCUIT program, which promotes healthy lifestyles for young people at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. This donation will support over 200,000 families across Quebec over the next 5 years.
Sun Life Financial is continuing its financial support for the CNIB Eye Van – a fully equipped medical eye care clinic on wheels that serves approximately 5,000 patients in 30 communities in northern Ontario. The Eye Van medical team treats eye conditions, performs minor surgeries, provides critical vision care and offers medical advice and information about maintaining vision health. Access to this service is often limited or unavailable in northern Ontario. In partnership with the Northern Diabetes Health Network, on-site educators and dieticians are available to provide screening for diabetes and to promote wellness and healthy lifestyles in each community.
Annual screening clinics are held in conjunction with Diabète Québec in all of our Quebec financial centres. In addition, Sun Life Financial provided a grant to support a junior researcher and the creation of a Prevention Zone on the Diabète Québec website.
Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) Foundation
Sun Life Financial is proud to be a sponsor of the Diabetes Resource Centre on AboutKidsHealth.ca, a leading family education resource that delivers trusted, medically approved health content in multiple languages for families around the world. The content follows the progression of diabetes from symptom recognition, to diagnosis, treatment and long-term outcomes, to help families understand diabetes.
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Foundation (MLSE): Sun Life Financial Helping Buds
Sun Life Financial is proud to partner with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) Foundation in the Sun Life Financial Helping Buds program. These funds help the MLSE Foundation host 2 on-ice hockey clinics at Air Canada Centre for kids and families enrolled in the Breakaway Hockey Program. As a special treat, Toronto Maple Leaf players are on hand to lead the clinics and give youth the rare opportunity to learn from their hockey heroes. These clinics also include a type 2 diabetes prevention component that educates the community’s youth about the importance of healthy living, including regular exercise and nutritional information.
The Breakaway Hockey Program introduces hockey to new Canadian girls and boys at no cost. In teaching hockey skills, this program hopes to develop life skills such as teamwork, self-confidence and respect. It also aims to provide programs such as academic tutoring and teaching healthy eating to prevent type 2 diabetes in an at-risk South Asian population.
Through Sun Life Financial’s partnership with the Montreal Canadiens, during the month of November Sun Life Financial donated $1,000 to the Diabetic Children's Foundation for every goal the Canadiens scored at home (up to $20,000). The public was also encouraged to take part in fundraising efforts and Sun Life donated $1 for every tweet, retweet or share using the #monactiondiabète hashtag.
Sun Life Financial is also joining the team for the now-famous Canadiens-Evenko blood drive in cooperation with RDS, and will be hosting a diabetes screening clinic in conjunction with Diabetes Québec.
Ontario Science Centre
Sun Life Financial is the Diabetes Awareness Sponsor of the AstraZeneca Human Edge exhibition at the Ontario Science Centre. This 10,000-sq. ft. exhibition hall opened to the public on December 7, 2013. It is the first permanent exhibition hall created since 2006 and includes approximately 60 hands-on exhibits designed to provide engaging information on the human body, health, fitness and nutrition. Sun Life Financial has committed to be the Diabetes Awareness Partner of the exhibition for 5 years, and is supporting a 600-sq. ft. area devoted to diabetes education and awareness experiences.
Sun Life Financial supports the Transformation by Design process changes in the Orthopaedic and Amputee Rehabilitation Unit (A5) at Providence Healthcare. The A5 unit specializes in rehab for patients recovering from single and double lower-limb amputations as a result of traumatic injury, progress of disease or complications resulting from diabetes. Sun Life Financial’s donation will implement unique process changes such as helping patient care navigators make contact with patients in acute care and monitor them closely to determine if and when they are the right fit for Providence’s rehabilitation programs.
Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health (The Royal)
Mental illness can interfere with a person’s ability to understand the implications of diabetes on health and make informed choices on diet and health. The Royal has initiated a Healthy Lifestyle Group that will create strong therapeutic relationships between healthcare teams and clients to help them make the lifestyle changes they need to manage their diabetes. An integrated framework gives every client the opportunity to meet individually with The Royal’s professionals, including a psychiatrist, dietician, therapeutics recreationist, pharmacist and metabolic nurse. Sun Life Financial’s support allows The Royal to access the resources and equipment required to meet current needs.
University of Winnipeg
Sun Life Financial is funding a pilot program at the University of Winnipeg called the UWinnipeg Sun Life Diabetes Awareness and Education Program. The program targets inner-city youth and at-risk populations between the ages of 10 and 15. People of First Nation, Hispanic, Asian, South Asian or African descent are at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Canadian First Nations children as young as 8 years old are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at an increasingly rapid rate. The program focuses on education about diabetes, the risk factors for and consequences of the disease, and prevention strategies including good nutrition and physical activity. Making healthy lifestyle choices is a key step in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes.
YMCA of Greater Toronto
Sun Life Financial is a Presenting Sponsor of the Diabetes Prevention Program (Lifestyle Balance) pilot to be rolled out to 11 centres in the Greater Toronto Area. The program is based on a successful YMCA U.S. model that showed lifestyle changes and weight reduction can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.