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New report highlights significant gaps in arthritis care and research across Canada

Survey shows Canadians overwhelmingly support more arthritis research, agree wait times are too long

Arthritis Society Canada today released The State of Arthritis in Canada Report Card, giving low grades to all provinces and territories, underscoring the urgent need for action and innovation in the field of arthritis care.

The first of its kind report was developed through collaboration within the arthritis community across Canada and is an impetus towards the development of a concrete, solution-oriented arthritis action plan.  

Here are the Arthritis Report Card key findings at a glance:

  • Canada needs better arthritis data
    Data across the country is inconsistent, insufficient and too siloed to show a clear picture of the problem and its potential solutions.
  • Access to arthritis care is a challenge
    Too many Canadians cannot access arthritis care and demands outweigh system capacity. 
  • Arthritis research is underfunded
    Relative to the burden of disease including the number of Canadians impacted, more investment is needed in arthritis research.
  • Provincial/territorial findings and opportunities for action
    The highest grade among all jurisdictions in Canada was a “C,” indicating significant room for improvement and that much work needs to be done.

Map of Canada with the grades for each province

New survey also shows Canadians overwhelmingly support more arthritis research, agree wait times are too long 

In a separate consumer study conducted by Angus Reid for Arthritis Society Canada, 93 per cent of Canadians agreed that more arthritis research is needed. Additionally, 88 per cent of Canadians agreed that wait times are too long for arthritis related surgeries and services. 

“We have a growing arthritis crisis in this country,” said Trish Barbato, president and CEO at Arthritis Society Canada. “Arthritis is more prevalent than diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke combined. We need to invest in arthritis research, adopt new models of care, raise awareness and improve data collection to address the burden this disease places on our healthcare system.”

The report highlights four actions governments can take now: 

  • Enhance the quality of health data 

  • Improve access to arthritis care 

  • Invest in arthritis research   

  • Raise awareness of arthritis 

Governments can play an immediate role by increasing investment in arthritis research and improving arthritis specific data collection. The Public Health Agency of Canada and Statistics Canada can work with the arthritis community and provinces/territories to collect better arthritis data. The work of the pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy is critical. 

“More than six million Canadians have arthritis – that’s one in five,” said Siân Bevan, Chief Science Officer, Arthritis Society Canada. “By not taking any action, that number will soar to nine million by 2040. Together we must do better.”

Provinces and territories can take steps to improve access to arthritis care through new or expanded models of care, better use of technology, and more community-based joint management programs.

Read the full report [PDF 613kB]


About the State of Arthritis in Canada Report Card 
The State of Arthritis in Canada Report Card analyzes and evaluates provinces and territories on three main categories: access to care and treatment, wellness, and research and innovation. This report was developed in collaboration with Arthritis Consumer Experts, Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance, Canadian Rheumatology Association, Arthritis Society Canada (ASC) Integrated Scientific and Medical Advisory Committee, Canadian Orthopaedic Association, Arthritis Health Professions Association, Canadian Spondyloarthritis Association, Arthritis Research Canada and Arthritis Community Research, Epidemiology Unit (ACREU) and Santis Health. Each of these groups were vital in shaping this Report Card, including the patient voice and their experiences, and ensuring its accuracy, integrity, and relevance. 

About the Arthritis Awareness Survey 
These are the findings of a survey conducted by Arthritis Society Canada from August 4 to August 8, 2023, among a representative sample of 1,510 online Canadians who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. The survey was conducted in English and French. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/-2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

About Arthritis Society Canada
Arthritis Society Canada represents the six million Canadians living with arthritis today, and the millions more who are impacted or at risk. Fueled by the trust and support of our donors and volunteers, Arthritis Society Canada is fighting arthritis with research, advocacy, innovation, information and support. We are Canada’s largest charitable funder of cutting-edge arthritis research. We will not give up our efforts until everyone is free of the scorching pain of arthritis. Arthritis Society Canada is accredited under Imagine Canada’s Standards Program. For more information, to donate or to volunteer, visit    

Media Contacts

Megan Dunscombe
MAVERICK PR | 647-972-2373

Zehra Goawala
Arthritis Society Canada | 416-668-4320

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