Senior African American woman laughing while going for a walk outside with her adult son

Healthy Aging

Supporting projects and research to enable Canadians to maintain optimal health while aging

The Challenge

Canada has an aging population: it is estimated that by 2030 there will be 9.5 million Canadians over the age of 65—a 28% increase from 2020. Statistics Canada reports that almost 75% of Canadian seniors have at least one chronic health condition. In fact, although Canadians aged 65 and above make up only 20% of the population presently, they incur nearly 50% of the country’s health care costs, and those amounts will continue to increase as our aging population grows.†

Three researchers at a laboratory at the University of Toronto

Our Goal

To catalyze and scale science-based approaches to significantly improve the health and well-being of Canadians as they age. Specifically, we aim for:

  • More Canadians maintaining optimal health with aging
  • Decreased economic burden of diseases of aging in Canada
  • More Canadians equipped with knowledge and strategies to maintain optimal health and independence

Our Approach

The Foundation’s support of innovative health research dates back to the early 1960s when Garfield Weston donated $1M to the Banting and Best Institute at the University of Toronto. Since that time, we have supported hundreds of translational research projects through the Weston Brain Institute and the Weston Family Microbiome Initiative. And we have learned a few things along the way. Our funding approach reflects those learnings and continues to evolve to help us reach our goals.

After nearly a decade of supporting research into therapeutics and intervention for brain diseases of aging, we are increasing our emphasis on lifestyle approaches and prevention.

We are using a funnel approach by establishing sequential programs to spark new ideas, shepherd promising findings, and scale ambitious projects. This will enable us to support multiple high-quality, proof-of-concept projects with those showing significant promise receiving additional funding and being advanced to scaling opportunities.

† Sources: Gibbard, Robyn. Meeting the Care Needs of Canada’s Aging Population—July 2018. Ottawa: The Conference Board of Canada, 2018; Statistics Canada; Canadian Institute for Health Information

Our Healthy Aging Initiatives

Brain imaging software on a computer monitor

Weston Brain Institute

A 3D illustration showing a close up of bacteria

Weston Family Microbiome Initiative