Victoria event to shine a light on the impact of arthritis in the workplace

Millions of people across Canada suffer from arthritis and the condition has a huge impact on its sufferers. But one area where people often overlook arthritis’ impact is in the workplace. However, an event taking place in Victoria this September` is aiming to change that by shining a light onto the issues that people affected by arthritis face in their professionally lives.

Taking place on September 21, the Arthritis Talks symposium, Arthritis & Work, is part of a nationwide series of educational events being held by the Arthritis Society (www.arthritis.ca) to help raise awareness of the condition’s impact in the workplace.

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Available to both in-person attendees at the Victoria Conference Centre and as an online webinar, the event will feature guidance from arthritis experts as well as legal professionals with an in-depth understanding of the rights and issues facing sufferers.

The event will cover all aspects of living with arthritis and its potential impact on the workplace such as your rights under current Canadian employment law, as well as the considerations and accommodations employers must make for those suffering from arthritis. Speakers will also address subjects including medicinal cannabis and maintaining a work/life balance while suffering from arthritis.

Arthritis in the workplace

Arthritis is a growing concern for our population and impacts far more people than you might think. According to the Arthritis Society, a staggering one in five Canadians live with the impacts of arthritis, and the problem is only going to get worse. In fact, it is estimated that by 2040 the number of people living with arthritis is expected to grow 50%.

Not only is arthritis one of the biggest challenges currently facing Canadian health care, it also poses many challenges to our economy and our workforce. The condition is one of the leading causes of disability and work limitations in Canada.

Currently more than half of working-aged Canadians with arthritis report that they are not in the workforce, which is more than twice the proportion of those without arthritis. But the impact isn’t just being felt by workers, employers are also feeling the strain when it comes to arthritis.

It’s estimated that osteoarthritis (OA) costs the economy more than $27 billion both directly and indirectly every year. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is also taking its toll, with an estimated $5 billion in costs each year.

Whether it’s the economic impact or the toll that it takes on individuals and their families, arthritis and its impact on the workplace is something that needs to be addressed. But many people simply don’t know where to turn for the support and advice they need to combat the condition.

A helping hand

For more than 70 years, the Arthritis Society has worked tirelessly to help improve the quality of life of people suffering with arthritis. Education and information are a key part of what the organization does, and to that end it is holding a series of national symposiums to help Canadians access the evidence-based advice and support they need to manage their condition.

Among the experts on hand at the Arthritis Talks symposium to offer advice and guidance is David Turner, a partner at Edwards, Kenny & Bray and an expert in commercial litigation, employment law and administrative law.

“The impact that arthritis has on the workforce is far greater than most people understand,” says Turner. “Statistically, everyone knows someone who has arthritis; it just doesn’t seem that way because many working-age employees cover it up. Hopefully, some of my discussions will help employers recognize how to work with an employee living with arthritis.”

Anyone interested in either attending the event, or experiencing it online, should register at www.arthritis.ca/arthritistalks. Registration closes at 9 am on September 20. But with limited seating available, anyone interested in attending is encouraged to register early to save your spot.

Arthritis Talks

Where: Victoria Conference Centre, 720 Douglas St, Victoria, BC V8W 3M7 

When: 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm, Saturday, September 21 

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