Sun Life has announced a strategic commercial partnership and a $32.7-million equity investment with telemedicine provider Dialogue, as more Canadians turn to their phones and tablets to connect virtually with a medical professional.

Sun Life will hold a minority ownership in Dialogue with customary rights to acquire additional equity. This round of financing includes follow-on investments by existing backers Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), Portag3 Ventures, White Star Capital, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, First Ascent Ventures and Walter Ventures. National Bank Financial Inc. acted as financial advisor to Dialogue in this financing.

Canadians need alternative care

"The need for Canadians to have alternative ways to access health care continues to grow," said Dave Jones, Senior Vice-President, Group Benefits, Sun Life Canada. "Virtual care is an important part of the future of Canadian health care. The combination of innovative technology and the necessity of social distancing during the pandemic has rapidly changed the virtual health care landscape.

“This investment is our next step, as we continue to innovate for our clients and empower them to manage their health and well-being." 

Need to expand current model

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the importance of expanding the traditional health care model. Virtual care, which provides access to medical practitioners in the comfort of a patient’s home, helps people physically distance and alleviate pressure on the Canadian health care system. Since the pandemic started, Dialogue has seen a sharp increase in usage of the virtual care service.

The collaboration between Sun Life and Dialogue gives Canadians virtual access to medical care and connects them directly with a health care professional from anywhere in the country, at any time. The investment follows Sun Life's roll out of Lumino Health Virtual Care, powered by Dialogue, in March 2020.