Canada and France build momentum in fight against dementia

Experts from industry and academia share innovative ideas to better support people living with dementia, their families, and caregivers

OTTAWA, Sept. 12, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), delivered closing remarks at the Canada-France Global Dementia Legacy Event, which concluded today after a productive two-day discussion in Ottawa. The international event brought together 200 experts from the research and industry sectors, health charities, patients, and caregivers, as well as government leaders including the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Canada's Minister of Health, Mr. Phillipe Zeller, Ambassador of France to Canada, and Dr. Dennis Gillings, World Dementia Envoy.

As noted by Minister Wong, the social and economic impacts of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia are profound.  However, the longstanding partnership between Canada and France is creating synergies, removing barriers, and building momentum in the global effort to develop treatments and find cures.

The event was the second in a series of four events stemming from the Dementia Summit held in London, UK, in December 2013. Through expert panel discussions, delegates set the path forward for the development of new approaches to partnerships and collaboration between industry and academia, and identified practical and creative solutions to better support those living with dementia, and their families. A synthesis of the event discussions and proposals will be available within a month, while being shared with the Global Action Against Dementia and the World Dementia Council.

The Canada-France Global Legacy Event was organized by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the French National Alliance for Life Sciences and Healthcare (Aviesan), with financial support from Rx&D (Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies), Industry Canada, Ontario Brain Institute, and the Weston Brain Institute.

Quick facts:

  • As part of the Legacy Event, Minister Ambrose announced a series of new initiatives and investments highlighting the Government of Canada's commitment to tackling dementia including: the launch of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging; a commitment to bring the successful Dementia Friends program to Canada; a new partnership to support transformative dementia research; the release of the national dementia research and prevention plan publication; and the release of Mapping Connections: An Understanding of Neurological Conditions in Canada.
  • Canada plays a key role in the international goal to find a cure or disease modifying treatment for dementia by 2025, and to improve the quality of life for individuals living with dementia, and their caregivers.
  • The next Global Dementia Legacy Events will be hosted by Japan in fall 2014, and the United States in winter 2015, followed by a wrap up session in March 2015.


"For people with dementia, routine tasks such as shopping for groceries or taking a bus to a medical appointment can be extremely challenging. Our government, in collaboration with colleagues from G7 countries and partners in Canada and abroad, is committed to defeating this devastating condition through increased research, prevention and public education. The ideas generated from the Canada-France event will help address the day-to-day challenges that people living with dementia and their families and caregivers face."
– The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health

"The Government of Canada recognizes the significant impacts that dementia and other neurological diseases place on individuals and caregivers. Through our support for caregivers, we recognize the important contribution of Canadians who are providing care and support to their families and friends."
– The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors)

"This meeting demonstrated that, for dementia as well as for all the great human challenges of our time, sharing objectives and resources between research and industry is the critical path to success."
– Mr. Philippe Zeller, Ambassador of France to Canada

"There are 44 million people with dementia around the world and yet just three drugs have been developed in over 15 years. That is not enough. It is clear to me that academia industry collaboration on dementia research is a vital component of that action. Through hosting this second legacy event, Canada and France have shown great leadership in this area, shining a light on many examples of excellent research collaboration and partnership, inspiring other countries to follow their lead and bringing hope to millions impacted by this life shattering disease. I very much welcome the Canadian government's new package of dementia measures announced today, particularly the launch of the CCNA which could become a collaborative model for others."
– Dr. Dennis Gillings, World Dementia Envoy

"With this Legacy Event, we have now proposed and explored a number of possible solutions to address an extremely complex challenge. We have heard the voices, expertise and experience both from industry and academia already working to reduce barriers, but also from stakeholders in other related fields. I am highly optimistic of the prospects for change.  After all, barriers are meant to be struck down."
– Dr. Alain Beaudet, President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

"To cure dementias by 2025, we need to develop innovative strategies to transfer complex biology to new therapeutic targets. Discussions in the last two days were outstanding and very inspiring. Several new avenues to strengthen collaborations between academic and industry sectors were discussed. We have to transform these proposals in concrete actions. We are more than ever convinced that the fight against dementia require a global commitment."
– Prof. Yves Lévy, CEO, French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm), and Chairman of  Aviesan, the French National Alliance for Life Sciences and Healthcare

Associated Links

Canada-France Global Legacy Event
Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging
Mapping Connections: An Understanding of Neurological Conditions in Canada
Canadian Employers for Caregivers Plan
Global Action Against Dementia

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's health research investment agency. CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened health care system for Canadians. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 13,200 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

Ce document est également disponible en français.


SOURCE: Canadian Institutes of Health Research

For further information: Michael Bolkenius, Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of the Health, 613-957-0200; David Coulombe, Media Relations, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, 613-941-4563,; To request an interview with the World Dementia Envoy, or another member of the World Dementia Council: Lucy Thomas, 0044 777 963 9460,


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