I’m an Employer


About 6 million Canadians are living with arthritis, which affects approximately 1 in 10 people under the age of 65.  Arthritis is one of the leading causes of long-term disability in the country, but it doesn’t have to be.  Studies have shown that with the right supports in place, employees with arthritis can continue to thrive.  While many people with arthritis are able to manage their symptoms at work, some people may require additional support.  The Arthritis and Work web portal provides strategies to help employees with arthritis manage their symptoms in the workplace and beyond, as well as information about your rights and responsibilities as an employer, tips for creating an arthritis-friendly workplace, as well as possible accommodation options if needed.    While arthritis can have a devastating physical, mental, financial and social impact on those it affects, as an employer, you can play a role in helping to minimize this impact and retain valuable, skilled employees.

And employers get arthritis too!  The Strategies for the Workplace and Arthritis Management Beyond the Workplace sections provide helpful arthritis self-management tips that can be used by anyone.   

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a term used to describe a group of over 100 diseases characterized by inflammation in the joints or other areas of the body.

Arthritis can involve almost any part of the body, most often affecting the hip, knee, spine or other weight-bearing joints, but also found in the fingers and other non-weight-bearing joints. Symptoms can vary depending on the type and severity of arthritis, though people with arthritis will often experience pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints, as well as other effects such as fatigue or altered mood.

Arthritis is a chronic, episodic condition. That means symptoms can fluctuate unpredictably over time and people with arthritis will experience varying periods of better and worse health. In this section, learn more about different types of arthritis, their symptoms and possible treatment options.

Creating an Arthritis-Friendly Workplace

Creating accessible, accommodating workplaces for employees with arthritis can benefit your organization in multiple ways. Employees who are supported to manage their health cost employers less in benefits, workers compensation claims, and lost work days. In fact, employee wellness programs aimed at driving awareness, education and behaviour change can provide your organization with a healthy return; studies have reported real returns to employers ranging from $1.81 to $6.15 for every $1 invested.

Accommodating employees with arthritis

Not everyone with arthritis will require workplace accommodations, but for those who do, having support can significantly improve employment outcomes and reduce job disruptions. The resources in this section can help you identify the best accommodations options for your employees that will allow them to thrive at work. With the right supports in place, people with arthritis can continue to make meaningful contributions at work and lead productive, fulfilling lives.

Tax deductions for disability-related modifications

According to the Government of Canada, when reporting expenses for income tax purposes, businesses are able to deduct expenses for certain eligible disability-related modifications rather than adding them as capital costs. This can include the installation of equipment such as an automatic door opener or ramp, the modification of a space to improve accessibility, or the purchase of devices such as disability-specific hardware and software. On the T2125 Statement of Business or Professional Activities, these costs can be listed under “other expenses,” as long as they were incurred in the current tax year and haven’t been claimed elsewhere. For further information, visit the Government of Canada’s website on reporting business income and expenses.

Your rights and responsibilities as an employer

Every worker in Canada is protected by provincial, territorial and/or federal labour and human rights laws. This means you and your employees have rights and responsibilities, and those rights can include legislation around workplace accommodation. In Canada, employers have a duty to accommodate people with disabilities to the point of undue hardship. To learn more about your rights and responsibilities, visit the resources in this section.

Medical Cannabis

Since 2001, medical cannabis has been a legal treatment option in Canada for certain health conditions, including chronic pain from arthritis. Medical cannabis is not covered by public or private plans, and while recreational cannabis is now legal, the resources here address the scientifically validated use of medical cannabis.

Medical Cannabis: What people with arthritis need to know 

Strategies for the Workplace

Pain and fatigue can affect your work, and your work can affect your joints and energy levels. Taking care of your joints can help you manage your arthritis in the workplace, wherever you work. Learn more about tips and techniques to set yourself up for success.

Arthritis Management Beyond the Workplace

Taking care of arthritis is important in all aspects of a person’s life. The online resources featured here can help people with arthritis better understand their pain, manage fatigue, stay active, eat well and advocate for themselves.

ACED Job Accommodation Tool to Support a Worker

For many people with arthritis, their disease is an episodic and often invisible disability, and learning how to accommodate this at work can be a challenge. They want to know if, how and when they should communicate their need for workplace supports, without fear of being stigmatized, losing their privacy, or jeopardizing their job. 

ACED logoThe Accommodating and Communicating about Episodic Disabilities (ACED) project is a collaborative initiative that brings together researchers and community partners to co-develop and test evidence-based workplace tools and resources to support the sustained employment of people with episodic disabilities.

Arthritis Society Canada is proud to partner with the ACED team and ensure that the ACED toolkit reflects the experience and perspectives of our arthritis community. We will link here to ACED toolkit resources as they become available. 

Job Demands and Accommodation Planning Tool (JDAPT) 

The JDAPT is an easy-to-use, interactive tool to identify strategies and accommodations that can help workers with chronic and episodic conditions manage the specific difficulties that they may be having with their job demands due to their health. 

JDAPT for organizations

This version of the JDAPT is for supervisors, human resources practitioners, disability case managers and worker representatives who are looking for tailored accommodation ideas that will help them support workers with chronic conditions. 

Learn more about versions for workers or for the workplace parties who support them  


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