The $1 million commitment over four years will support 700 youth across five Canadian cities and focus on Black and Indigenous children.
Toronto, Oct. 10, 2023 – Sun Life is announcing a new partnership with Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada (the Foundation) with $1 million in funding committed over four years. The funding will help launch the Sun Life Bright Futures Kids Wellness Program, a pan-Canadian mental health prevention initiative for young people living in government care. The program is expected to directly support 700 youth ages 6-18, with a focus on Black and Indigenous children.
“Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada is doing critical work to expand access to mental health care across the country,” said Jacques Goulet, President, Sun Life Canada. “This new program will help improve mental health outcomes for the most vulnerable in our communities.”
Sun Life’s funding will support the inclusion of mindfulness modules withing existing programs at the Foundation’s partner agencies in Waterloo, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Fredericton.
“Mental health services have always been especially hard to access for youth involved in the child welfare system. Black and Indigenous youth, whose trauma and alienation can be compounded when placed with foster families that don’t reflect their cultural identity, face even greater barriers,” said Valerie McMurtry, President and CEO, Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada. “Our new partnership with Sun Life demonstrates our shared commitment to the holistic health and well-being of children and youth in care and to ensuring access to the support they need to thrive.”
This funding brings Sun Life’s total donations in support of mental health in Canada to more than $7.1 million since 2020.
Improving access to mental health care to help Canadians live healthier lives
Sun Life’s partnership with the Foundation aligns to its Purpose of helping people live healthier lives. Committed to building healthy, diverse, and more sustainable communities, Sun Life sees mental health as a universal right and strives to maximize its positive impact by taking steps to remove systemic barriers for Canadians. From partnerships and philanthropy to products and services, Sun Life is working to address the growing demand for mental health support and programming in Canada.
Partnerships and Philanthropy
- In 2023, Sun Life Canada pledged $3.7 million for youth mental health programming in at-risk or marginalized communities. This funding supports 10 organizations across Canada.
- In 2022, Sun Life Québec announced a $1.1 million investment to support mental health services for families and marginalized communities in Quebec. This funding supports 4 organizations: Fondation Jeunes en Tête, CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation, Montréal Children’s Hospital Foundation, Relief – the path of mental health
- In 2021, Sun Life Canada launched a three-year partnership with Kids Help Phone to support the Brighter Days Program, an Indigenous youth mental wellness initiative that will help reach 4,500 youth through the delivery of 300 mental health sessions.
Products and Services
- Lumino Health Virtual Care is available to Group Benefits Clients with extended health care benefits. Powered by Dialogue, over 500,000 Sun Life Clients and their family can use the virtual service to connect directly with a health care professional for both their physical and mental health needs. Sun Life acquired Dialogue in October 2023 to deepen its commitment to health.
- Lumino Health, Canada’s largest network of health care providers, is free to everyone in Canada. Through Lumino Health, people can find health-care providers and book appointments, learn about the latest in health and explore new health resources.
- Mental Health Coach is a service available to some Sun Life Group Benefits Clients. The service uses data analytics to identify Clients who are at risk of developing a mental health issue. The Coach then proactively reaches out to guide Clients to the right resources and support, helping them make the best use of their benefits plan. A recent study found that 90% of Mental Health Coach participants experienced a positive mental health outcome.
- Mental Health Strategy Toolkit is a free toolkit that guides employers through a five-step process to build a workplace mental health strategy that delivers meaningful and lasting results.
Investing in mental health programming and services is vital as demand grows. Supporting the needs and wellbeing of vulnerable populations is key to a healthy and sustainable future for Canada. To learn more about how Sun Life is making a difference in the community, go to sunlife.com/sustainability/.
Sun Life in the community
Sun Life is sustainability-driven, focusing on areas where it can have the greatest impact. By actively supporting the communities in which Sun Life lives and works, the organization can help build a positive environment for Clients, employees, advisors, and shareholders. Physical health and mental health are at the centre of our philanthropic support, with a focus on supporting programs and organizations that strive to empower Canadians to live their healthiest lives no matter where they are in their journey. Sun Life employees and advisors take great pride in volunteering and giving back to make life brighter for individuals and families across Canada.
Learn more about Sun Life in the community.
Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada
Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada is our country’s leading charity dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth involved in the child welfare system. Our vision is a future where the children and youth we serve have the strength and resilience to create a lifetime of their own unstoppable successes. We raise and grant funds and deliver a wide range of high-impact programs and services in partnership with 104 child- and youth-serving agencies across the country. Last year, we supported more than 15,000 children, youth, and families.
Media Relations Contact
Manager, Corporate Communications
Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada
Senior Manager, Communication