Make arthritis an election issue

Federal election 2021: All parties need to address key health issues for the 6 million voters living with arthritis.

The delivery of healthcare may be a provincial responsibility, but the federal government also plays a significant role in funding healthcare and shaping healthcare policies.

Arthritis affects more than 6 million Canadians. This represents 20% of the Canadian population, more than the entire populations of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. The number of people living with arthritis in Canada is expected to increase by about 3 million to a total of 9 million people by the year 2040.

Canadians of all ages, sexes and races can and do have arthritis. Although commonly perceived to be a disease affecting older adults, approximately two-thirds of Canadians living with arthritis are under the age of 65. And, to many people’s surprise, one in 1,000 children in Canada has arthritis.

A high proportion of people with arthritis frequently report having additional chronic health diseases, along with worse mental health than people without arthritis. Many people with arthritis have difficulties with mobility and daily activities such as doing housework and running errands.

Arthritis pain and reduced mobility can make it difficult, if not impossible, to sit or stand for long periods of time, and perform physically demanding work. A high proportion of people with arthritis report not being in the labour force, even among younger adults. If fact, arthritis is the leading cause of long-term work disability in Canada.

Arthritis is the most common long-term chronic disease in Canada, affecting one out of five Canadian voters. Yet, no national arthritis strategy exists like it does for cancer, heart & stroke, diabetes, and mental health.

As the number of Canadians living with the most disabling and life-threatening types of arthritis - osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis - increases dramatically over the next 20 years, it has become more important than ever for the the next elected federal government to develop and implement a new national arthritis strategy that will improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs.

Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) members and subscribers are keenly following the federal election campaign. To help them compare the competing Party healthcare platforms, ACE is asking the Liberal Party of Canada, Conservative Party of Canada, the New Democratic Party of Canada, the Green Party of Canada, and the Bloc Québécois questions about the top health care issues for Canadians living with arthritis.

Together, arthritis consumers have a powerful voice. But only if we exercise it. Please consider the parties' healthcare platforms and what their positions mean for people living with arthritis. On September 20, 2021, VOTE for arthritis.

ACE will be collecting party responses and will post party responses on the Federal Election 2021 page on its website.

ACE letter sent to each Party and Party Leader included: Party responses to the survey
  • The Liberal Party of Canada
  • The Conservative Party of Canada
  • The New Democratic Party
  • The Green Party of Canada
  • Bloc Québécois
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