Ultimate Calendar of Health Awareness Days, Weeks, & Months in Canada

Posted by Julie Tremblay Roy on 16/12/19 9:54 AM

Editor’s note - This is a super comprehensive list of awareness days in Canada. If you want to cut through the detail and scan all the dates at once, check out our 2020 health awareness day calendar.

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Across Canada, there are dozens of healthcare promotion days, weeks, and months throughout the year. Healthcare providers have many reasons to keep an eye on awareness dates, especially those which are relevant to their patients. But, how can you keep track of all these dates throughout the year? What activities and resources can clinics use to make the most of these dedicated days, weeks, and months?

Making sense of health awareness days seemed like a perfect challenge for Auxita. After all, we are all about awareness. In our case, that awareness is very specific - our software helps medical professionals stay aware of programs for patients, guideline updates, and health calculations. But, there is more to health awareness than what Auxita provides on a screen. 

So, with that in mind, here is the ultimate list of Canadian health awareness days, weeks, and months in Canada. We even included some tips for healthcare professionals on what to expect during these times of year, so you’ll be all set for whatever the calendar brings.

Why should Canadian medical professionals care about medical promotion or awareness days?

  • To promote preventative health. Want to increase cancer screenings? Or start conversations about diet, smoking, and other risk factors? These awareness days can be great ways to fuel discussions about prevention and personal health management. You also may see an uptick in people seeking certain tests and screenings during awareness days and months.
  • To stay on top of information (and misinformation). Awareness days are often a catalyst for sharing medical information. This can be good news: everyone, including medical professionals, has a chance to explore the latest developments and medical guidelines.

The bad news? Awareness days, weeks, and months are often the period when Dr. Google is at his most powerful, so prepare to face him a fair bit during these dates.

Tip: To explore medical guidelines in a pinch, just click the “Guidelines” button in Auxita or check out the recommended clinical pathways for each patient. If you don’t have Auxita yet, click here to check it out.
  • To help patients feel supported. Awareness events can help those managing a disease and their families find support, community, and strength. Knowing about these days and recognizing them in the office with posters or conversation can be impactful for those struggling with a condition or disease.

  • For updates on special programs and initiatives. Research fellowships, financial support programs, and clinical tests may be timed to coincide with awareness days. Staying on top of these opportunities can make a big difference for physicians and their patients.
Tip: Medical professionals can also use the free EMR-integrated tool Auxita for this - Auxita will automatically show you which programs match the patient profile during appointments, so you don’t have to research programs yourself.

Explore Canadian Health Awareness Days, Weeks, Months by Category

  • Cancer 
  • Cardiology/Heart health
  • Mental Health & Neurology
  • Medical Professional Recognition
  • Preventative Health & Wellness 
  • Orthopedic Health
  • Other

Cancer Awareness Days, Months, and Events in Canada

February 4: World Cancer Day 

World Cancer Day is a global initiative from the Union for International Cancer Control. It aims to inspire individual action to reduce the global burden of cancer.

What to expect:

  • Landmark lighting (orange and blue) at sites such as Niagara Falls, the CN Tower, Calgary Tower, and Canada Place Sails of Light in Vancouver 
  • Online campaigns about cancer prevention, such as #30minutesthatmatter
  • Major research funding announcements sometimes intersect with World Cancer Day

February 15: International Childhood Cancer Day

International Childhood Cancer Day is a global initiative from Childhood Cancer International. The day is part of the organization’s goal to “make childhood cancer a national and global child health priority.”

What to expect:

May: Bladder Cancer Awareness Month

Bladder Cancer Awareness Month began in 2015 as an initiative of Bladder Cancer Canada.

What to expect:

  • Social media campaigns and posters, such as the “See Red? See Your Doctor.” campaign 
  • The BCC awareness walk
  • Landmark lighting (red and yellow) at government buildings and arenas 

April: Daffodil Month

Daffodil Month is organized each April by the Canadian Cancer Society.

What to expect:

  • Daffodil pins sold by volunteers and partner retailers throughout Canada

June: Relay for Life Month

Relay for Life is the Canadian Cancer Society’s signature fundraising event. The organization has declared June “Relay for Life” month.

What to expect:

  • 6 to 12-hour events hosted by communities or schools. A full listing of events by province is available here.

June 26: National Cancer Wellness Awareness Day

National Cancer Wellness Awareness Day is organized to help Canadians with cancer understand self-care and wellness best practices, empowering them to live well with and through cancer.

What to expect:

  • Social media campaigns using the hashtag #NCWAD

September: Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

During September, multiple Canadian organizations and clinics that deal with childhood cancer host events and campaigns.

What to expect:

  • Media campaigns, with personal and family stories of childhood cancer featured
  • Blood drives and blood donation movements

September: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Prostate Cancer Canada recognizes a national awareness month every September.

What to expect:

  • Media coverage and campaigns encouraging prostate exams
  • Announcements of new research investments
  • Local events such as “Wake Up Call Breakfasts” and BBQs (see details)

October: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Each October, the Canadian Cancer Society focuses awareness efforts on breast cancer.

What to expect:

  • Pink retail products and pink ribbons for sale
  • Awareness initiatives in professional sports and media events
  • BRA Day events throughout Canada

October 24: Brain Cancer Awareness Day (note: Brain Tumour Awareness also recognized each June)

The Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada recognizes October 24 as Brain Cancer Awareness Day. Internationally, the impact of brain tumours is also recognized in the month of June.

What to expect:

November: Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Lung Cancer Awareness Month is declared by the Canadian Cancer Society each November. Along with fundraising, this month is often used to encourage helping Canadians to quit smoking.

What to expect:

  • Anti-smoking campaigns in the media and online
  • Increase in patients who may be looking to quit smoking

November: Movember

Movember is a popular month-long event that raises awareness about men’s health issues, including prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health.

What to expect:

  • Moustaches galore! Many men grow out their facial hair and raise money for this event.
  • Increase in patients seeking testicular cancer screenings and prostate exams due to preventative health campaigns

November 30: Stomach Cancer Awareness Day

The Stomach Cancer Foundation of Canada, also known as “My Gut Feeling,” founded Stomach Cancer Awareness day in 2016.

What to expect:

  • Landmark lighting (periwinkle) in major Canadian cities and sites


Cardiac & Heart Health Days and Months in Canada

February: Heart Month

Founded in the United States but widely recognized in Canada, Heart month features preventative health messages and research investment announcements in multiple countries.

What to expect:

  • Press releases and ongoing media coverage about heart health issues like diet, exercise, and smoking
  • Cardiac research funding announcements

May: Hypertension Awareness Month and World Hypertension Day (May 17)

During Hypertension Awareness Month, Hypertension Canada arranges for blood pressure screenings and teaches Canadians how they can prevent hypertension with lifestyle changes. 

What to expect:

  • Pop-up blood pressure clinics, which may request your support as a medical professional
  • Increase in patients asking about high blood pressure or hypertension


Mental Health & Neurology Days & Months in Canada

January 29: Bell Let’s Talk Day 

Bell Let’s Talk Day is a national campaign that aims to spread awareness and funds for mental health charities in Canada. It is sponsored by Bell Canada, which donates money for every message sent on this day.

What to expect:

  • A great deal of discussion, particularly on social media where Bell Canada donates money for every post
  • Videos, blog posts, and personal stories about mental health
  • Funding for certain mental health organizations and charities following the event

February: Psychology Month

Declared by the Canadian Psychological Association, this awareness month is designed to “highlight the contributions of Canadian psychology and to teach Canadians how psychology works.”

What to expect:

  • Featured books and educational events at local libraries and lecture halls
  • Requests to open up psychology labs, offices, and departments for public education
  • Public service announcements and other media coverage

March 11 to 17: Brain Awareness Week

This global campaign from the Dana foundation aims to “foster public enthusiasm and support for brain science.”

What to expect:

  • Experiments, puzzles, and educational opportunities for children at museums and in classrooms
  • Community neuroscience videos
  • Lectures and learning series for adults

May 7: National Child and Youth Mental Health Day

Founded by two Canadian mothers in 2007, National Child and Youth Mental Health Day is now recognized across Canada. FamilySmart currently oversees the campaign.

What to expect:

  • Increase in conversation around youth mental health
  •  iCare bracelets to showcase support

May 4 to 10: Mental Health Week

Organized by the Canadian Mental Health Association, Mental Health Week encourages Canadians to “get loud” and discuss mental health issues and stories in their communities.

What to expect:

  • Sharing of mental health experiences with the #GetLoud campaign 
  • Educational resources deployed at schools related to mental health
  • Policy papers and announcements from CMHA

May 12: International Awareness Day for Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases (CIND)

Since 1992, May 12 has been recognized as the International Day for CIND. This date was selected to coincide with the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who was said to have suffered from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

What to expect: 

  • Increased conversations around the topic of CIND on social media and in the medical community
  • Patients looking to reduce stigma or find new treatments for CIND

September: World Alzheimer’s Month + World Alzheimer’s Day (September 21)

Recognized globally, World Alzheimer’s Month aims to spread awareness about dementia and reduce stigma in as many countries as possible. 

What to expect:

  • Press releases from health and advocacy organizations
  • Alzheimer Society's “Coffee Break” fundraisers throughout the community (these take place year round, but there may be more during September in honour of World Alzheimer’s month)

October 10: World Mental Health Day

Observed by the World Health Organization, World Mental Health Day focuses on a different mental health topic with global impacts each year. In 2019, the theme was “40 seconds of action” to prevent suicide.

What to expect:

  • Media coverage on the theme of World Mental Health Day and mental health topics in general
  • Film screenings, lectures, and other learning events on the theme

Second week of October: Mental Illness Awareness Week

Coordinated by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health, Mental Illness Awareness Week encourages Canadians to “spread awareness and reduce all forms of stigma around mental illness.” 

What to expect:

  • Events across Canada (see map)
  • “Mental Health Matters” signs and messages on social media


Recognition Days for Medical Professionals, Weeks, and Months in Canada

March: Pharmacist Awareness Month

Organized by the Canadian Pharmacists Association, the month of March “celebrates the contributions that pharmacists mark to our health care system.” The month is also dedicated to helping Canadians understand what health care services and advice pharmacists can provide.

What to expect:

April 21 to 27: National Medical Laboratory Week

National Medical Laboratory Week (or “Lab Week,” as it is commonly known) is a week dedicated to recognizing leaders in laboratory technology and celebrating the contributions of technologists in healthcare.

What to expect:

  • Celebrations for lab techs in your clinic/community

May 6 to 12: National Nursing Week (and International Nursing Day on May 12)

Scheduled to coincide with the week around Florence Nightingale’s birth, National Nursing Week and International Nursing Day is a celebration of the importance and impact of nurses in Canadian and international healthcare.

What to expect:

  • Celebrations for nurses in your clinic/community
  • Social media discussions about the importance of nursing with the hashtag #NationalNursingWeek
  • Lunch and learn sessions or lectures about nursing

October: Canadian Intensive Care Week

Organized in partnership with a variety of critical care organizations, Canadian Intensive Care week offers an opportunity to recognize and celebrate staff who work in ICUs across the country.

What to expect:

  • Tours of intensive care units in your community
  • Education sessions, potlucks, or other celebrations of ICU teams

Third Tuesday in October: Pharmacy Technician Day

Pharmacy Technician Day is recognized in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada.

What to expect:

  • Celebrations for pharmacy technicians in your clinic/community


Preventative Health & Wellness Days & Months in Canada

March: Nutrition Month

Nutrition month, recognized in March, is aimed at dietitians in Canada. Dietitians of Canada encourages its members to put on events and activities related to healthy eating during this time.

What to expect:

  • Dietitians in your community offering events and starting conversations around diet
  • Increased dialogue around how diet impacts overall health

July 24: International Self-Care Day

International Self-Care Day was founded by the International Self-Care Foundation in 2011. The day aims to “promote self-care as a vital foundation of health.” It is scheduled on July 24 of each year to push forth the message that self-care is required “24/7.”

What to expect:

  • Increased opportunities and forums for medical professionals to discuss preventative health
  • Recognition of self-care in overall health by government officials and the World Health Organization
  • Self-care walks in various communities


Orthopedic Awareness Days & Months in Canada

October 12: World Arthritis Day

This global event aims to help people dealing with rheumatic or musculoskeletal diseases connect, find support, and raise awareness.

What to expect:

  • Initiatives and media coverage from arthritis advocacy groups
  • Events encouraging those with arthritis to meet and support each other

October 16: World Spine Day

Organized by the World Federation of Chiropractic, over 500 organizations around the globe come together to support World Spine Day.

What to expect:

  • Promotions and giveaways from back clinics and orthotic companies
  • Discussions on social media with the hashtag #LoveYourSpine

November: Osteoporosis Month 

Recognized throughout November, Osteoporosis Month encourages people to wear purple in recognition of bone health and osteoporosis.

What to expect:

  • People wearing purple for the #PurpleProud initiative on November 7
  • Landmark illumination in purple at the CN Tower, City Hall in Lethbridge, City Hall in Vancouver, and Calgary Tower

Other Awareness Days & Months in Canada

Last Day of February: Rare Disease Day

Rare Disease Day offers an opportunity for individuals around the world to share stories and raise awareness about lesser-known diseases. Events focus on sharing stories and building compassion.

What to expect:

  • Shared art projects for patient groups
  • Various awareness events (lectures, meals, etc)

April: Be a Donor Month

Organ and tissue donor campaigns often ramp up in April in recognition of “Be a Donor Month.”

What to expect:

  • Increased media coverage on the issue of organ and tissue donation 

April: IBS Awareness Month

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month in April aims to make more Canadians aware of the prevalence and effects of IBS. Currently, 13 to 20 percent of individuals in the country are living with IBS.

What to expect:

  • Increased online and offline discussion about IBS
  • Increased visits to the doctor about digestive issues if there is media coverage on the awareness month

April 7: World Health Day

World Health Day is a wide-reaching, international event that has been recognized for over 50 years. It is used by various public officials and organizations to raise awareness about the importance of health-related investments and programs.

What to expect:

  • Public statements from government officials
  • Press releases from health-related non-profits and organizations
  • Fundraising efforts from international health care organizations

May: Vision Health Month

The Canadian Association of Optometrists organizes Vision Health Month to raise awareness about serious eye diseases and the importance of eye exams.

What to expect:

  • Focused campaigns in each province encouraging visits to optometrists
  • Digital campaigns with the “Get EyeWise” slogan

May: Speech and Hearing Month

Speech-Language Audiology Canada (SAC) dedicates May to the public awareness of communication health. Their slogan is “Speak well. Hear well. Live well.”

What to expect:

  • Contests and art projects for kids to learn about speaking and learning challenges
  • Events hosted by speech and language pathologists

June: Thyroid Month

Thyroid Awareness Month is declared in June of each year by the Thyroid Foundation of Canada. Activities and advocacy are encouraged by the foundation in various communities during this month.

What to expect:

  • Various community activities and education events related to Thyroid month

June 10 to 16: Canadian Men’s Health Week

Men’s Health Week is coordinated by the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation. Some years, it covers men’s health generally; others, it takes on a specific theme. In 2019, the theme was “How to Be Healthy at Work.”

What to expect:

  • Videos, infographics, ebooks and social media content about men’s health issues

November 11-17: Digital Health Week

Digital Health Week is a “celebration and recognition of how digital health is transforming the delivery of care across Canada.”  It is part of the ACCESS 2022 Movement, which advocates for the development, adoption, and effective use of digital health solutions in Canada.

What to expect:

  • Social media conversations using the hashtag #ThinkDigitalHealth
  • The Infoway Partnership Conference, which takes place traditionally during digital health week

November 14: World Diabetes Day

World Diabetes Day is one of the awareness days most noted by family doctors in Canada. With an emphasis on helping people reduce their risk of diabetes-related complications, this day is often used to promote appointments and wellness to patients with diabetes.

What to expect:

  • Landmark lighting (blue) in various locations across Canada
  • Blue circle selfies, where people post photos of themselves with the blue diabetes awareness circles to spread the word
  • The Global Diabetes Walk
  • Awareness and fundraising events, typically centred around exercise, healthy food, and wellness

December 1: World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day is the only major health awareness day in the month of December. It is widely recognized around the world and aims to “remind the public and the government that HIV has not gone away.”

What to expect:

  • Red ribbons worn to show solidarity
  • Promotion of red gifts and retail items with proceeds going to AIDS research
  • Events in schools and workplaces to raise funds in support of HIV, often involving the sale of red ribbons



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