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Arthritis Society responds to the federal budget

Trish Barbato 
President and CEO 

We are pleased to see the federal government reiterate its commitment to boost the federal health transfer in yesterday’s budget but that is a one-time hike. More needs to be done to address the wait times crisis affecting patients across the country. We need an action plan now! 

While the previously announced commitment to top up the Canada Health Transfer by $4 billion could help address the surgical backlog created by COVID-19, a permanent and sustained increase would enable provinces to do more than just address the damage COVID-19 wreaked on our healthcare system.  

People were already waiting too long for life-changing hip and knee replacement surgeries before many surgeries were delayed and canceled this past year because of the pandemic. On behalf of arthritis patients, we’ve been raising the issue of wait times for some time and recently convened a pan-Canadian working group to put patients waiting in pain first. Arthritis is the leading cause of hip and knee replacement surgery. 

We amplify our call for the federal government to establish a Canadian Wait Times Task Force to develop an action plan to reduce patient suffering and improve health outcomes equitably across the country.  

The past year has been a difficult one for many and charities have not been spared from those difficulties. At the Arthritis Society, we made some difficult decisions and leaned into innovation. That, coupled with support from the federal government, helped us weather the storm.  

We welcome the continued support announced in the budget and appreciate that the federal government recognizes the unique challenges the charitable sector has experienced the past year – and continues to experience. We look forward to hearing more details about the supports for community service organizations announced yesterday. 

We’re excited to see the government’s focus on innovation and its commitment to invest in the life sciences sector, including a new research fund. We look forward to the potential medical advances that could be sparked from this investment for all Canadians, but particularly those living with arthritis.

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