moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to speak on my private member's bill, Bill C-237, an act to establish a national framework for diabetes in Canada.
I want to begin by thanking the member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, who generously traded his slot so we could begin third reading on this bill today. I would also like to thank all my colleagues in the Standing Committee on Health who unanimously supported this bill in March.
As members of this House know, 2021 is the year we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin by Sir Frederick Banting and his colleagues at the University of Toronto. This is still recognized as one of the greatest achievements of medicine in the 20th century and made them the first Canadians to win a Nobel Prize. It has been inspiring to see how the world has recognized this monumental achievement.
On April 14, the University of Toronto hosted 100 years of insulin symposium, which drew more than 6,000 attendees from around the world. This was also the occasion where Canada Post chose to unveil a new stamp that features a quote from Banting's unpublished journal, in his own handwriting, as well as the original insulin bottle with a red cap. I was proud to advocate for the creation of a stamp like this, as it serves both as a celebration of the achievement and as a reminder that the search for a cure continues.
On the same day, the Minister of Health opened the World Health Organization's summit to launch a Global Diabetes Compact, which seeks to improve the diagnosis rate and care for people living with diabetes. She highlighted this bill and said:
Canada has a proud history of diabetes research and innovation. From the discovery of insulin in 1921 to one hundred years later, we continue working to support people living with diabetes. But we cannot take on diabetes alone. We must each share knowledge and foster international collaboration to help people with diabetes live longer, healthier lives — in Canada and around the world.
The director general of the WHO said:
The number of people with diabetes has quadrupled in the last 40 years. It is the only major noncommunicable disease for which the risk of dying early is going up, rather than down. ...The Global Diabetes Compact will help to catalyze political commitment for action to increase the accessibility and affordability of life-saving medicines for diabetes and also for its prevention and diagnosis.
This is why now is the time for all levels of government in Canada to work with stakeholders and create our own strategy to fight and ultimately end this disease, one that coordinates funding for awareness, prevention, education, data collection, treatment and research that will improve health outcomes for all Canadians and one day lead to a cure.
Diabetes rates are three times to four times higher among first nations than among the general Canadian population. Furthermore, indigenous individuals are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at a younger age than other individuals.
In my own community of Brampton, every sixth resident has diabetes or prediabetes. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the challenges faced by people living with diabetes, who are at an increased risk of developing severe symptoms and dying from this infectious disease. Furthermore, the economic insecurity, lack of physical activity and mental health struggles associated with the pandemic all have a negative impact on those living with diabetes.
A national framework for diabetes would provide a common direction for all stakeholders to address diabetes and other chronic diseases with the same common risk factors. It would enhance coordinated efforts across federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions and provide a mechanism for tracking and reporting on progress.
The government needs to conduct its own consultation and stakeholder engagement. However, one proposed strategy that could be taken into consideration for the national framework, and which has been considered by the health committee, is diabetes 360°. This was developed in collaboration with more than 120 stakeholders and has strong support not only from the entire diabetes community but also from other key health stakeholders.
I would like to thank all the individuals and organizations that have supported this bill and helped it come together. That support means a lot to me and I know it will make a difference in the lives of 11 million Canadians living with diabetes or prediabetes.
Back in the spring of 2019, I was proud to bring forward the unanimously supported motion to declare November as Diabetes Awareness Month in Canada, but now it is time for more than awareness. It is time for action. Canada, 100 years ago, made the biggest leap in the treatment of diabetes.
Let us pass Bill C-237 today and send it to the Senate. I am very hopeful that passing this bill will help millions of Canadians who are fighting this disease. Canada gave insulin to the world. Why can we not lead the way?