Diabetes Canada recognized Sonia Sidhu, Member of Parliament from Brampton South, for her leadership on advancing awareness for diabetes by naming her this year’s recipient of the Frederick G. Banting Award. The award is presented to an individual, corporation, or organization that has significantly contributed to either preventing diabetes or improving the quality of life of individuals affected by diabetes in Canada.
“Banting was a pioneer in medical research – one of the great Canadian scientists. Thanks to his historical invention, millions of lives have been saved,” MP Sidhu said. “It is truly an honour to be receiving an award that bears his name.”
In June, Sidhu’s private member’s Bill C-237, the National Framework for Diabetes Act, was passed into law after receiving unanimous support in both the House of Commons and the Senate. This bill requires the Minister of Health to create and report to Parliament on a national framework to defeat diabetes.
The framework will be created in consultation with provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous communities, and other relevant stakeholders to improve diabetes prevention and treatment access to better health outcomes for Canadians.
The legislation requires that the framework include: identifying the training and education needs of health care professionals related to diabetes; promoting research, and improving data collection on diabetes prevention and treatment; promoting information and knowledge sharing; and taking into consideration of any existing diabetes prevention and treatment strategies and best practices, including those that focus on addressing health inequalities.
MP Sidhu has been a passionate advocate for the diabetes community since being elected to Parliament in 2015. Prior to her career in politics, she worked as a healthcare professional for eighteen years. In her home community of Brampton, where 1 in 6 people live with diabetes, she often saw how diabetes was a complicating factor in other conditions, including heart and kidney disease, blindness, and amputation.
Since being elected, she has served as chair of the all-party Diabetes Caucus, through which she has worked to raise awareness about the disease among her colleagues, passed the motion in 2019 that recognized November as Diabetes Awareness Month, and represented Canada at diabetes conferences domestically and abroad.
Sidhu has pledged that she plans to continue being an advocate for those with diabetes and encourage the research sector in Canada as they work towards finding a cure.
“By working together, we can one day bring an end to this disease. Canada gave insulin to the world. It is time we recommit as a country to fighting this disease and lead the way to a cure.”