Bill C-237: An Act to Establish a National Diabetes Framework passes

Up until now, Canada has been without a national diabetes strategy. But thanks to the work of tireless advocates and diabetes organizations, on June 21, 2021 Bill C-237 an Act to Establish a National Diabetes Framework, was passed by the Senate.

The passage of the bill means that the federal government is poised to take on the work proposed by Liberal MP Sonia Sidhu who was the sponsor of this Private Member’s Bill C-237, National Framework For Diabetes Act.

Bill C-237 was inspired by a Diabetes 360° initiative first proposed by Diabetes Canada with support and input from JDRF Canada and other diabetes organizations. Diabetes 360° aims to develop meaningful targets designed to stem the rising tide of diabetes based on an innovative model that was used globally to tackle HIV/AIDS.

The need for a comprehensive diabetes strategy is becoming increasingly important given the rising costs of complications associated with diabetes and the rapid rise in incidence over the past decade.

The first reading of the bill took place in February, 2020 and has taken just over a year to go from proposal to assent.

Senator Nancy Hartling, who added her voice in support of Bill C-237, spoke passionately when she said,

“We don’t need to start from scratch, colleagues; there is a lot of expertise right here in Parliament, including Diabetes Canada’s Diabetes 360° framework. In addition, we already have two all-party parliamentary diabetes groups that foster dialogue, policies, best practices and awareness on diabetes. 

Diabetes 360° was developed after extensive consultation with stakeholders, including experts, health care providers, governments, researchers and the diabetic community. It is based on the UN AIDS model, which combined successful 90-90-90 targeting strategy with the treatment as a prevention model to make ambitious inroads against HIV/AIDS epidemics. 

Diabetes Canada saw an opportunity to adapt the strategy to diabetes and developed the 360 targets, which are composed of the four 90s: one, prevention and elimination of health inequities; two, awareness and screening; three, achievement of health outcomes through treatment and technology; and four, engaging in a patient-centred approach to reduce rates of diabetes and improve overall well-being. 

The four 90s are achievable. They require a consistent, coordinated approach and the cooperation of all levels of government. Bill C-237 aims to facilitate this process and provides all the tools our government needs to do it.” 

What does the bill being passed mean?

(1) That the Minister of Health must, in consultation with the representatives of the provincial governments responsible for health, Indigenous groups and with other relevant stakeholders, develop a national framework designed to support improved access to diabetes prevention and treatment to ensure better health outcomes for Canadians.

(2) The national framework must include measures to

(a) explain what diabetes and prediabetes are;

(b) identify the training, education and guidance needs of health care and other professionals related to the prevention and treatment of diabetes, including clinical practice guidelines;

(c) promote research and improve data collection on diabetes prevention and treatment;

(d) promote information and knowledge sharing in relation to diabetes prevention and treatment; and

(e) take into consideration any existing diabetes prevention and treatment frameworks, strategies and best practices, including those that focus on addressing health inequalities.

And that the Minister must hold at least one conference with the persons referred to in subsection (1) for the purpose of developing the framework.

JDRF congratulates and thank MP Sonia Sidhu, Diabetes Canada, along with the other diabetes advocates who have worked together to advocate for Diabetes 360°, a strategy and framework to advance research to treat, prevent and cure diabetes.

The passage of the Bill is testament to the power of collaboration, and we recognize Diabetes Canada for leading the charge.

We look forward to working with the government to improve the lives of Canadians living with diabetes.

Learn more about Diabetes 360° here:

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