Arthritis Consumer Experts

May 2, 2014
For Immediate Release

Is your company a candidate for Canada's Best Workplaces for Employees Living with Arthritis program?

(VANCOUVER) — Successful organizations are paying more attention to the needs of employees living with arthritis, underlining the significant role 4.6 million Canadians living with arthritis have in the work force and economy. Today at the 2014 Canadian Life and Health Insurance of Canada Annual Claims Conference in Quebec City, Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) announced a nationwide search for best arthritis strategies and practices in the Canadian workplace as part of the official launch of the Canada's Best Workplaces for Employees Living with Arthritis program 2014.

"A workplace environment that embraces the needs of people living with arthritis and provides private insurance plans that give timely, equitable access to medications and other treatments is good for business health," says Cheryl Koehn, Founder and President, Arthritis Consumer Experts. She added: "Today we call on businesses that are taking positive steps to address arthritis in their workplaces to apply."

ACE's scientific partner, the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada (ARC), will assist in the selection process. According to ARC's Scientific Director, Dr. John Esdaile, there is a strong correlation between best arthritis practices in the workplace and business success: "Employers that make it easier for people with arthritis to thrive in their careers, and in the process also improve productivity and reduce costs associated with absenteeism and presenteeism, should be recognized."

Arthritis in the workplace
Arthritis is the most common cause of work disability in Canada and typically occurs during prime working years, between ages 35-50. The impact of arthritis costs the Canadian economy more than $6.4 billion annually. Lost workdays due to long-term disability account for approximately two-thirds of this total.

One in six Canadians has osteoarthritis (OA). That number is expected to rise to 1 in 3 Canadians by 2020. One out of every 136 Canadian workers lives with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but that will increase to 1 in 68 workers by 2020. Within ten years of the onset of RA, up to 50% of employees living with RA are work disabled if left under- or un-treated.

Dr. Diane Lacaille of the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada has conducted studies to determine what workplace factors are closely linked to the risk of a work disability lasting six months or longer. She found that high physical demand, low job independence (i.e. minimal control over the pace of work and how duties are performed) and poor support from co-workers aggravated arthritis symptoms and accounted for longer absences from work.

Is your company a candidate for Canada's Best Workplaces for Employees Living with Arthritis program?
The application process will deliver insights to further strengthen Canadian companies' approaches to creating a more productive and arthritis friendly workplace. It is an opportunity for companies to assess their awareness of arthritis and support systems for employees living with the disease. ACE will employ wide-ranging criteria from which to judge and recognize Canadian companies' best arthritis strategies and practices in the workplace. Categorizing companies by size (small, medium and large), ACE will conduct employee surveys, which are taken anonymously, and analyze company practices and programs compared to other candidate companies based on criteria such as workstation adaptability, flexible hours, employee education, and benefit plans.

The deadline for applications is 5:00 p.m. EST on July 31, 2014 and winners will be announced during Arthritis Awareness Month in September 2014.

To determine if your company is eligible for Canada's Best Workplaces for Employees Living with Arthritis program, please contact