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Canada is facing a growing burden of chronic disease. Almost two out of five Canadian adults over the age of 20 have at least one of the 10 most common chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease. In addition, some children are now developing chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes that were normally not seen until adulthood. The good news is that many of these diseases can be prevented.

Today, on behalf of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, Member of Parliament, the Honourable Hedy Fry, announced $950,000 over 30 months to support RADIUS’ Health Promotion Lab housed at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business. Through this project, RADIUS will collaborate with organizations to develop, test and accelerate innovative initiatives that help address chronic diseases in Canada.

RADIUS will help an estimated 70 to 90 social impact organizations design, develop and scale up activities to address risk factors—unhealthy eating, smoking and sedentary behaviour—that contribute to the development of chronic diseases. The organizations selected by RADIUS will have access to a range of expert advice and support to help increase the scale and reach of their healthy living and chronic disease prevention activities. Lessons learned from the projects supported through RADIUS’ Health Promotion Lab will be shared with a network of partners to encourage the use of proven innovative approaches to promoting healthy living in policies and practice.


“Encouraging healthy living to prevent the development of chronic diseases is a priority of the Government of Canada. RADIUS’ approach to promoting healthy living and preventing chronic diseases through collaboration with start-up organizations to develop and test programs is an exciting way to address the risk factors that contribute to chronic diseases. I look forward to seeing the innovative ideas for improving the health of Canadians as a result of our investment.”

The Honourable Hedy Fry
Member of Parliament

“Maintaining a healthy lifestyle—including being physically active, eating healthy foods, reducing alcohol consumption, and choosing not to smoke—plays an important role in the well-being and quality of life of Canadians. It also helps prevent chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Supporting healthy living behaviours through innovative partnerships and actions, and by addressing the social and economic barriers that some Canadians face when trying to make healthy choices, will help improve health outcomes for all Canadians.”

Dr. Theresa Tam
Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer

“RADIUS is excited to partner with the Public Health Agency of Canada on the Health Promotion Lab, an incubation and social innovation platform to promote healthy living and prevent chronic disease. This is a new type of partnership for both RADIUS and the Agency, and will serve as a prototype for how Canada can partner with universities, social innovation hubs and incubators to leverage government investment and scale its impact.”

Shawn Smith
Co-Founder and Director RADIUS, Simon Fraser University

Quick facts

The Public Health Agency of Canada is investing $950,000 in RADIUS’ Health Promotion Lab over 30 months through its Multi-Sectoral Partnership Approach to Promote Healthy Living and Prevent Chronic Disease. This program supports innovative partnerships to address the common risk factors that underlie major chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Chronic diseases are among the leading causes of death and reduced quality of life for Canadians. The three highest contributors to chronic disease in Canada are tobacco use, unhealthy eating, and obesity.

The direct healthcare cost for the 10 most common chronic diseases is $27.5 billion (in 2017 dollars).