Arthritis Facts & Figures

The term arthritis (“arthro” meaning joint, “itis” meaning inflammation) is used to refer to more than 100 related conditions. Arthritis can strike anyone at anytime, regardless of age, physical condition or ethnic background, often with devastating and debilitating effects. Arthritis brings with it a burden of pain and disability that those living with this disease must face every day. The main symptoms of arthritis are chronic joint pain, stiffness and swelling, which can result in significant disability and poor quality of life.

There is no cure for arthritis.

Some important numbers to know:

4.6 million – Over 4.6 million Canadian adults (one in six Canadians aged 15 years and older) report having arthritis. By 2036, this number is expected to grow to an estimated 7.5 million Canadian adults (one in five).

$33 billion – The impact of arthritis on the Canadian economy in health-care costs and lost productivity is estimated to be $33 billion each year. By 2031, this number is expected to more than double to over $67 billion.

First – Among all causes of disability in Canada, arthritis ranks first among women and third among men.

2/3 – Two out of three Canadians affected by arthritis are women.

3/5 – Nearly three out of every five people with arthritis are of working age.

60 – Within a generation, there will be a new diagnosis of osteoarthritis in Canada every 60 seconds.

For the full picture, download our Facts & Figures document.
Download Facts & Figures


Arthritis in Canada

This series of reports was prepared in July 2013 by the Arthritis Community Research and Evaluation Unit (ACREU) for The Arthritis Society. They present an overview of:
  • the number of people in Canada who have arthritis,
  • health behaviours which might affect arthritis,
  • impact on quality of life in terms of pain, disability and employment, and
  • use of healthcare services.
  • The reports draw on information from existing Statistics Canada health surveys specific to Canada and to each province, accordingly. (For more information on the databases see page 16 in each report.)

ACREU report on Fit For Work study

In 2012, The Arthritis Society contracted Leger Marketing to conduct a survey to better understand the experiences of adult Canadians living with arthritis and the impact of the disease on their paid employment. The survey results were studied by the Arthritis Community Research Evaluation Unit (ACREU), and their findings (July 2013) are published in this report.
Download the ACREU Report on Fit For Work Study Report

Impact of arthritis in Canada

This report, published by The Arthritis Alliance of Canada in Fall 2011, demonstrates the enormity of the growing burden of arthritis over a 30 year period, and provides examples of how this burden can be mitigated by health awareness, education, and intervention in the future.
Executive Summary
Full Report

Life with arthritis in Canada

This 2011 report, published by the Public Health Agency of Canada, is the second national surveillance report on arthritis. Using the most recent data sources available at the time, it provides an overview of arthritis in the Canadian population and its wide-ranging impact. It also suggests approaches for reducing the risk of developing some types of arthritis, and minimizing disability and improving the quality of life of those living with any type of arthritis.
Download the Life with Arthritis in Canada Report
Arthritis Research

Help Find a Cure Help Find a Cure

Help find a cure by supporting the best and brightest researchers who are investigating ways to prevent and treat arthritis. Donate now
Gerald O-Neill

A Husband and Fundraiser - Gerald’s Story A Husband and Fundraiser - Gerald’s Story

Why run 63 km in one weekend for The Arthritis Society? Why did I raise $26,000?
I did it for a girl: my wife, Danielle, who’s had rheumatoid arthritis most of her life.
Read more

Ask an expert
Ask an Expert

Get answers, guidance and advice from a team of healthcare professionals.

Arthritis Community
Arthritis Community

Connect with others, share your arthritis experience and get answers in a safe online space.

Change a Life

24,000 Canadian children and teens live with arthritis. Help hand back childhood by making a donation today.