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Marking 100 Years
Since the Discovery of Insulin

2021 was a year of significant milestones celebrated, and new milestones achieved.

We marked the centenary of the discovery of insulin, but rather than looking back - we forged ahead, funding the most promising projects and studies into both new therapies that could prevent or delay the onset of type 1 diabetes (T1D) and get us closer to cures. We know that now more than ever – it is time to move beyond insulin and towards a world free from T1D.

With the generosity of incredible donors and supporters, we maintained our singular focus on supporting cutting-edge diabetes research while working to improve the lives of the estimated 300,000 Canadians challenged daily by this disease.

Thank you. You are helping us get closer to a world without T1D.

Who We Are

JDRF Canada was founded in 1974 by families affected by T1D who were driven by the need to improve the quality of life—not only for their children, but for everyone living with this disease. We work every day to honour their legacy and fund the most promising research that will one day achieve their goal of a world free from diabetes.

JDRF Canada is the leading charitable funder of T1D research in the country. Our strength lies in our exclusive focus and singular influence on the worldwide effort to end T1D. JDRF Canada is proud to be a part of a global network of affiliates working towards the same vision: a world without T1D. There are JDRF affiliates in the US, UK, Australia, Netherlands and Israel.


A world without T1D.


Improving lives today and tomorrow by accelerating life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications.

Our Why

T1D impacts as many as 300,000 Canadians and their families. It is a serious and challenging disease that must be managed vigilantly - every single day – but even with careful management can still have serious and potentially life-threatening complications, including kidney disease, blindness, amputations and more.

Keeping blood glucose and insulin levels in check means that people living with T1D must make hundreds of daily decisions – decisions that those living without the disease never have to face.

When insulin was discovered over 100 years ago in Canada, it saved millions of lives globally and offered the first real hope for people with T1D. But insulin is only a treatment, not a cure, and T1D is one of the only common autoimmune conditions without a disease-modifying therapy available. Reliance on external sources of insulin puts anyone who has T1D at risk of dangerous blood glucose complications, like hyper or hypoglycemia, which can be potentially life threatening. The longer one lives with T1D, the greater the potential for diabetes-related complications.

Canada has the fastest growing rate for T1D diagnoses in the world, and we do not know why. It affects both children and adults, with the median age of diagnosis between ages 10-14 years old, although children as young as one year old can be diagnosed.

While causes are still unclear and the disease cannot currently be prevented, researchers are getting closer to understanding who is at greatest risk, and how to protect and replace insulin-producing beta cells, bringing us closer than ever to cures.

JDRF works every day to change the reality of this disease for Canadians living with it—and to prevent anyone else from ever being diagnosed with it.

Our commitment to the type 1 diabetes community and our donors

JDRF Will Continue To:

  • Fund the most groundbreaking research to both improve lives with new disease modifying therapies and accelerate cure research
  • Work with the T1D community to advocate for expanded coverage of and access to diabetes technology and devices, such as insulin pumps and advanced glucose monitoring devices (continuous glucose monitors and flash glucose monitors), allowing those with T1D to better manage their disease and potentially prevent health complications and hospital visits
  • Lobby the federal government for continued research funding for T1D
  • Educate and inform the T1D community about important and relevant issues using subject matter experts
  • Connect the community to each other for opportunities to share, learn and grow together
  • Address the gaps in mental health care for Canadians living with T1D

Leadership Message

JDRF Board Chair, Ron Miller and President and CEO, Dave Prowten reflect on JDRF’s activities and achievements for 2021, a year that continued to be challenged by the pandemic and uncertainty. As JDRF commemorated the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin, the organization looked forward, rather than back – towards cures, towards easier and safer lives for everyone impacted by type 1 diabetes (T1D) and towards a future free from the disease.

View Leadership Message

Ron Miller - Board Chair

Dave Prowten - President and CEO

Our Type 1 Diabetes Community

Ruby Pilatzke, Petawawa, ON Diagnosed Age 9

Accelerating Research

Thanks to the support of our generous donors, JDRF is the leading charitable funder of type 1 diabetes (T1D) research in Canada. We also work jointly with our global affiliates to support projects around the world. Throughout the pandemic we have remained steadfast in our commitment to push this research forward. With gratitude to our supporters, and the dedication of our researchers, we have seen remarkable progress over the past year.

We are pleased to report that JDRF Canada’s funds to T1D research in 2021 exceeded that of pre-pandemic levels. Our research funding continues to support both high-impact preclinical and clinical T1D research through conventional grants that help us advance our global research strategy, as well as expand the breadth and depth of research funding through partnerships with CIHR and other funding agencies. We are also supporting the first Canadian JDRF Centre of Excellence at UBC, focused on cure research, which was launched winter, 2021.

JDRF Active Research Grants Held in Canada


New Grants – 4 | Clinical trials – 13 | Training Awards - 8 | All Grants - 37


New Grants - 3 | Clinical Trials – 10 | Training Awards - 11 | All Grants - 27

The Pace of Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) Research Is Moving Faster Than Ever Before

A Bold New Fundraising Campaign To Get Us Closer To Cures

Monsters Are Real

In 2021, to launch our $100M Campaign to Accelerate, JDRF created a daring Campaign featuring a monster that was representative of living life with type 1 diabetes (T1D). A real-life monster for the 300,000 Canadians living with this disease, this monster doesn’t hide under your bed or lurk in the closet. This monster grabs hold of you, and doesn’t let go, and it always will be there until we find a cure.

It is an eye-catching and thought-provoking Campaign to help propel forward our innovative plan to transform our approach to T1D research, redesigning it for speed and maximizing our impact. It will move us beyond insulin and accelerate towards cures.

The discovery of insulin 100 years ago helped to tame the T1D monster, but now is the time to defeat it, once and for all.

Our Six-Pillar Approach

We started with a vision. How do we have the most impact for Canadians living with T1D?

Our six fundraising priorities provide a framework for attacking T1D from every angle. These include:

JDRF Centre of Excellence at UBC

Establishing a Centre of Excellence in T1D cure research.


T1D Fund

Using venture philanthropy to increase commercial investment in T1D cure products.


Access For All

Increasing access to and affordability of life-saving T1D technology for all Canadians.


Mental Health

To fund research that focuses on psychosocial aspects of T1D and healthcare professional training.


JDRF-CIHR Partnership To Defeat Diabetes

Advancing Canadian T1D research and ensuring it remains a priority.


Global Research

Investing in breakthrough T1D research aligned with our global strategy.


With the support of our Campaign senior leaders, over 70-member strong volunteer cabinet, generous donors, corporate support and individual contributions, we incredibly achieved almost half our goal ($48 million) in the first year and a half of this Campaign. This Campaign has been a coming together of the donor and volunteer community the likes of which we have never seen before.

To say this will be life-changing for the T1D community is not an overstatement. We are so grateful to our incredible Campaign volunteers and donors. We are confident that we will achieve our $100 million target earlier than five years.

JDRF Centre of Excellence at UBC – Established to Fuel Discovery

JDRF Centres of Excellence provide a research funding model that fosters highly dynamic, nimble work to drive discovery with maximum speed. In contrast to conventional research grants, a Centre of Excellence brings together a large team of experts from diverse fields – and recruits new talent – to accelerate type 1 diabetes (T1D) advances through a collaborative approach.

This model is also a highly cost-effective way of advancing research because it leverages and streamlines existing research facilities and talent. By removing the capital costs of developing a new physical space, the Centre of Excellence model ensures that donor dollars are directed to research rather than overhead and allows for the prioritization of the science that holds the most promise for the T1D community.

Vancouver is home to the first JDRF Centre of Excellence in Canada and is one of just five Centres worldwide.

JDRF’s Advocacy Works to Ensure the T1D Community is Supported

As a research foundation, the advocacy work of JDRF supports our research priorities at every stage of the pipeline, whether securing funds for discovery or clinical trials, improving the regulatory landscape by creating new expedited approval pathways or securing public and private reimbursement for the drugs and devices Canadians living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) rely on.

We give a voice to the T1D community through our letter writing campaigns, petitions, meeting programs and lobby days, while also sitting on external advisory groups, responding to public consultations and preparing official government submissions. Through our advocacy approach, we offer a credible and trusted voice that is heard by government at all levels.

Advocacy highlights from 2021:

Our Events

The COVID-19 pandemic once again meant that our events needed to be held virtually, and once again – our volunteers, donors and corporate sponsors rose to meet the challenge.

Accelerating Change

Volunteer led sector challenges significantly bolster the $100 Million Campaign to Accelerate

Our National Partners

From Coast-To-Coast JDRF Is The Grateful Beneficiary of Incredible Corporate Support

Board of Directors

Ron Miller, Chair

Board Chair, Partner, Lorem Partners (Calgary, AB)

Lorne Shiff

Past Chair, President, LandCon Limited (Toronto, ON)

Murray Suey

Treasurer, Regional Managing Partner, KPMG Calgary (Calgary, AB)

Mary Jane Devine

Secretary, Business Advisor in Health Technology (Vancouver, BC)

Matthew Varey

Senior Vice President, RBC (Toronto, ON)

Ashit Dattani

Investment Advisor and Portfolio Manager, TD Wealth (Vancouver, BC)

Helena Gottschling

Chief Human Resources Officer, RBC (Toronto, ON)

Dr. Nick Hajidiacos

Physician, Associate Professor of Medicine (Winnipeg, MB)

Réjean Tremblay

CCO Canada, Aon (Montréal, QC)

Justin Vineberg

Partner, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP (Montréal, QC)

Scott Williams

Principal Consultant, The Bronte Group (Oakville, ON)

Holly Jackson

Head, North American Customer Contact Centre, BMO (Toronto, ON)

Hélène Michel

CPA auditor, Managing Partner, Audit Quebec, Mallette (Québec City, QC)

Our Collective Impact


Frederick Banting & Charles Best

Discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto.


First Person to Receive An Injection of Insulin

First Line of Mass-Produced Manufactured Insulin


First Prototype Insulin Pump


A1C Test For Hemoglobin


First Synthetic “Human Insulin”



First accurate way to monitor blood sugar.


Introduction of The Insulin Pen


Edmonton Protocol

A method of implantation of pancreatic islets for the treatment of T1D making the liver, rather than pancreas, the storehouse of insulin because of its ability to regenerate itself.


JDRF Artificial Pancreas Project


JDRF Canadian Clinical Trial Network


JDRF-CIHR Partnership To Defeat Diabetes

Landmark Canadian-led Study Shows CGM Use During Pregnancy Improves Maternal Health Outcomes

2021 and Onwards

The Next Breakthrough in T1D Research Is Just Around the Corner



JDRF National Support Office

235 Yorkland Blvd. Suite 600

Toronto ON, M2J 4Y8


TF: 1.877.287.3533

TEL: 647.789.2000

FAX: 416.491.2111


©2022 JDRF Impact Report 2021. Report by floating-point.

Charitable Registration # 11897 6604 RR0001