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Rick Blickstead - Diabetes Canada. Toronto, ON, CA

Rick Blickstead Rick Blickstead

President and CEO | Diabetes Canada

Toronto, ON, CANADA

Rick is a senior executive with experience in both the Canadian and American public and private sectors.





How the Canadian Diabetes Association is Helping Rick Blickstead sends a message to Luchadores from Lucha Libre Vs. Obesity and Diabetes Campaign Great hopes for Diabetes Other Interviews




Rick specializes in strategic organization revitalization, governance, stakeholder management, complex systems thinking, and executional excellence within healthcare, population health, and consumer-centric organizations.

He is currently the president and CEO of Diabetes Canada, a national health charity, and the past CEO of the Wellesley Institute, a national applied research and policy think tank focused on advancing population health. Rick is an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto, a fellow of MaRS-Social Innovation Generation, and was latterly a president of RONA Retail, Wal-Mart FJ USA, Dylex- BW Stores, and Peoples Jewellers amongst others.

Rick is a director and past chair of Imperial Manufacturing Group, board treasurer of Regis College at the University of Toronto, a director of World Presidents Organization: Ontario Chapter, director and past treasurer of the Harvard Club of Toronto. He is a past director of the Toronto Central LHIN, past chair of Centennial College’s Centre for Applied Research and Innovation, past governor of the Canadian Centre for Diversity, and a past director of the Toronto Board of Trade where he now contributes to city building as a member of its Policy and Advocacy Committee.

Rick is a graduate of the joint Non-Profit Management Certificate program at the Harvard Business and Kennedy Schools, and has an MBA from the University of Toronto, a B. Comm. from Carleton University, and is an alumnus of Bishop’s College School.

Industry Expertise (4)

Corporate Leadership

Program Development



Areas of Expertise (8)

Strategic Planning

Volunteer Management

Public Speaking

Policy Development

Community Outreach

Program Management



Education (3)

Harvard Business School: Certification, Executive Development, Non-Profit Management 2007

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management: MBA., Marketing and Finance 1976

Carleton University: B.Com. (Hons.), Economics 1975

Affiliations (5)

  • Toronto Central LHIN : Board Member
  • Young Presidents / World Presidents Organization : Board Member
  • Toronto Region Board of Trade : Policy and Advocacy Committee, Member
  • University of Toronto : Adjunct Professor
  • MaRS : Fellow of the Social Innovation Generation

Languages (1)

  • English

Media Appearances (5)

Vancouver joins research campaign to fight rising urban diabetes

Vancouver Sun  print


Fassbender’s personal profile put him into one of the categories most prone to developing “onset diabetes.” But ethnicity, economic stature and heredity also play into why diabetes is reaching deep into society, said Rick Blickstead, president and CEO of the Canadian Diabetes Association.

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Diabetes: Urgent problem, gaps in care and resources

Radio Canada International  online


CDA President and CEO Rick Blickstead says, “There are gaps we need to address so people living with diabetes and those who may be at risk for type 2 diabetes can access the care and support they need to live the healthiest lives possible.

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Canadians urged to check their risk during Diabetes Awareness Month

NewsWire.ca  online


"Knowing the risk factors for diabetes will provide Canadians with information to act and potentially lower their risk, in consultation with their primary care provider," says Rick Blickstead, president and CEO of the CDA. "Early diagnosis can ensure that individuals living with undiagnosed diabetes, prediabetes, and at risk of diabetes receive the treatment they need. We encourage Canadians to participate in this campaign and share it with their social networks to spread the word about the importance of prevention, awareness and early diagnosis."...

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Making schools better places for children with diabetes

NewsWire.ca  online


Rick Blickstead, CDA President and CEO, said: "Our goal is to improve the health, safety and participation of the 33,000 elementary and high school aged children in Canada with diabetes. A team-based approach is needed for them. We are delighted to work with governments and school boards to develop needed policies as well as helping school personnel, children and parents across Canada to support these children as much as possible."...

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Province to offset costs of insulin pumps for children

The Charlottetown Guardian  online


“People with diabetes can’t effectively manage their disease when they are forced to balance their health against living expenses such as paying rent or buying groceries,” said Richard Blickstead, president and CEO at the Canadian Diabetes Association. “Today’s announcement acknowledges the seriousness of diabetes and recognizes the need to invest now in the health of Islanders living with the disease, so they can live to their full potential.”...

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Event Appearances (1)

Invited Speaker

Innovation in Diabetes Care: 90 Years and Beyond  MaRS Discovery District, Toronto, Ontario