JointHealth™ express   September 2, 2021

Federal election 2021: Where do the federal parties stand on arthritis?

All parties need to address key health issues for the 6 million Canadians living with arthritis.

The delivery of healthcare may be a provincial responsibility, but the federal government also plays a significant role in funding healthcare and shaping healthcare policies. Arthritis Consumer Experts is asking the federal parties where they stand on issues from arthritis models of care to health inequities.

Arthritis affects more than 6 million Canadians and is the leading cause of disability in the country. The number of people living with arthritis in Canada is expected to increase by about 3 million to a total of 9 million people by the year 2040.

Canadians of all ages, sexes and races can and do have arthritis. Although commonly perceived to be a disease affecting older adults, approximately two-thirds of Canadians with arthritis are under the age of 65. And, to many people’s surprise, one in 1,000 children in Canada has arthritis.

Many Canadians living with the disease are told that it is “just arthritis.” Indeed, joint pain is often seen as simply a normal part of aging. The impact of arthritis, and the possibility and importance of doing something about it, are discounted. The health care system and providers often fail to recognize and treat arthritis effectively. Health strategies, public policy and workplace policies often treat arthritis lightly or say nothing at all.

Arthritis is the most common long-term chronic disease in Canada, affecting one out of five Canadian voters. Yet, no national arthritis strategy exists like it does for cancer, heart & stroke, diabetes, and mental health.

As the number of Canadians living with osteoarthritis or inflammatory arthritis increases dramatically over the next 20 years, it has become more important than ever for the federal government to develop and implement a new national arthritis strategy that will improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs.

Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) members and subscribers are keenly following the federal election campaign. To help them compare the competing Party healthcare platforms, ACE is asking the Liberal Party of Canada, Conservative Party of Canada, the New Democratic Party of Canada, the Green Party of Canada, and the Bloc Québécois questions about the top health care issues for Canadians living with arthritis.

Together, arthritis consumers have a powerful voice. But only if we exercise it. Please consider the parties' healthcare platforms and what their positions mean for people living with arthritis. On September 20, 2021, VOTE for arthritis. #Vote4Arthritis

ACE will be collecting party responses and will post party responses on the Federal Election 2021 page on its website.

The questionnaire asked the following questions:
  1. Will your party develop and implement a new national arthritis strategy that will improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs?
  2. What policies will your government introduce that address OA and obesity to help sustain the employability of people who have pain and loss of function in their hips and knees?
  3. How will your party ensure equitable arthritis patient access to virtual care, particularly for members of the black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) communities?
  4. What will your government do to address inequities and improve the healthcare of Indigenous peoples in Canada living with arthritis?
  5. How will your government work with provincial and territorial governments to ensure fair, equitable and optimal access to necessary medications for arthritis patients?
If you have comments, questions, or concerns, please take the time to contact the parties.