Though the brain is a vital organ, its health is too often overlooked, and roughly 3.6 million Canadians live with a brain-related condition. As we mark Brain Awareness Week, I encourage all Canadians to take a moment to consider their brain health and the crucial role that a healthy brain plays in their well-being.
Canada is home to ground-breaking brain research, and our government is committed to maintaining our status as a world leader in the field. Last year, we pledged over $14 million for 18 new brain research projects, tackling diseases and disorders like depression, stroke, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease through the Canada Brain Research Fund. Furthermore, our government recently provided $5.08 million towards establishing the Canadian Open Neuroscience Platform, a partnership of 15 universities supporting neurological disease research data and its dissemination.
Our government has also invested significantly in research and partnerships to better understand the effects of aging and disease on the brain. We’re currently developing a national dementia strategy, bringing together all the cutting edge work being done across the country. We are also supporting the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging as they conduct Canada’s largest-ever dementia study, investigating the similarities and differences between its different forms to better diagnose, understand and prevent its onset. I look forward to welcoming experts and partners to a national conference on dementia this May, and will also be establishing a ministerial advisory board to advise me and help shape the national strategy.
Brain and mental health is particularly important for young Canadians. I’m inspired by successes like ACCESS Open Minds, a joint initiative of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Graham Boeckh Foundation. This innovative $25 million mental health program has 14 sites across Canada, including six in Indigenous communities, raising awareness and understanding about youth mental health services. Our young people deserve the right care, at the right time, in the right place, and our government is committed to ensuring they get it.
As a former social worker, I’ve seen first-hand the toll brain diseases and disorders take. Our government will continue to work to support trailblazing brain research, get help for those in need and improve the brain health of all Canadians.
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Health