Diabetes donations in action

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.

Right to Play

Sun Life has teamed up with RIGHT TO PLAY to use sport and play to educate and empower children and youth living in adversity to build essential life-skills and better futures, while driving lasting social change through its PLAY (Promoting Life-skills in Aboriginal Youth) Play For Prevention program (PFP).

PFP is a component of the PLAY program and aims to address the gaps in type 2 diabetes prevention among indigenous youth populations by focusing on education, awareness and the promotion of healthy and active living. Guided by an Indigenous community development model, PFP equips community mentors with the skills and tools needed to lead more than 100 outcome-based games, while enhancing and building life-skills among youth in their programs. The program works with urban indigenous youth who are at a heightened and increasing risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It encourages healthy living through physical activity and healthy nutrition workshops, and provides an interactive environment for participants to learn about the aspects of health that may contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.

Walk to Cure Diabetes

Sun Life Financial is a Title Sponsor of the Sun Life Walk to Cure Diabetes for JDRF and the Title Sponsor of the Sun Life Revolution Ride to Defeat Diabetes in support of JDRF. Held in over 70 communities across Canada, these annual events raise much-needed funds for JDRF to help find a cure and to increase education and awareness of type 1 diabetes.


Canada’s Children’s Hospital Foundations (CCHF)

Established by the CEOs of Canada's 13 children's hospital foundations, CCHF is the national voice for transforming children's health in Canada through philanthropy. Sun Life has committed $2 million to the CCHF’s Sun Life Financial Child and Youth Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Initiative.

This national initiative harnesses the power of Canada's 13 children's hospitals to provide preventative diabetes treatment, promote a healthier future for youth who are at risk for type 2 diabetes and make a significant impact on the health of today’s youth. The Sun Life Financial Child and Youth Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Initiative will enable Sun Life and CCHF to work together to positively influence the success of healthy living initiatives among children and youth with the goal of preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Hope Air

Taking our commitment to diabetes to new heights, we’ve funded a Diabetes Flight program with 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. Because medical expertise or specialized medical technologies typically exist only in larger cities, these flights are for people who cannot otherwise afford to travel to seek this life-saving medical attention.

As Sun Life and Hope Air close the gap between home and hospital for patients living with diabetes in rural settings, we recently asked Canadians to tell us about the last time they were on an airplane. Hear the surprising stories (video in English only).

Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada

Sun Life Financial has teamed up with the Toronto Raptors, NBA Canada and Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada to develop a national grassroots basketball program that will teach children and youth (7-12) about the power of basketball as a way to prevent type 2 diabetes through healthy, active living. This multi-week program will encourage children and youth to complete weekly physical and health challenges. The initiative is part of the Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes program.

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. 

CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation

In May 2013, Sun Life Financial committed $1 million over 5 years 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 5 year partnership. 

Diabète Québec

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. 

Montreal Canadiens

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.

University of Winnipeg

Sun Life Financial has funded the UWinnipeg Sun Life Diabetes Awareness and Education Program at the University of Winnipeg. The program targets inner-city youth and at-risk populations between the ages of 10 and 15. These at-risk populations include people of First Nations, Hispanic, Asian, South Asian and African descent, as these groups are at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. 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. 

University of New Brunswick

Sun Life Financial has given the University of New Brunswick (UNB) $250,000 to help launch the Sun Life Financial Living Well with Diabetes Initiative, to assist those living with diabetes or who are at risk of developing the disease. The initiative raises awareness of the lifestyle factors that contribute to both preventing and managing diabetes. Participants have access to free education sessions on the importance of physical activity and healthy living with expert physiologists, dietitians and physicians. They also have access to effective preventative and care strategies such as subsidized personal training and recreation services, and nutrition workshops. Sun Life’s funding has allowed UNB to expand its services currently delivered through the Sun Life Financial Fitness Assessment Centre (SLFFAC), now in its ninth year of operation. The SLFFAC enables kinesiologists to deliver personalized fitness programs to improve the strength and health of participating students and community members. 

Wilfrid Laurier University

Sun Life Financial has committed $500,000 to establish the Sun Life Financial Centre for Physically Active Communities in partnership with Wilfrid Laurier University. The centre supports research and community outreach in high-priority neighbourhoods to children at risk of developing obesity and chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. This innovative program focuses on physical activity and nutrition education to give caregivers and children the foundation they need to make healthier lifestyle choices and ultimately reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.