Arthritis in the Workplace

The first of a series of articles we will be printing leading up to Small Business Week, and Business Women Week, October 14 to 20, 2007

People with arthritis are affected at work regardless of their job ? from those who work in offices or manufacturing plants, to people who work outdoors or in retail. Arthritis can significantly impact career aspirations and is one of the leading causes of physical disability among adults in Canada.

If it helps to put things into perspective, consider this ? of the more than four million people in Canada with arthritis, most are of working age and in their career prime ? between the ages of 20 to 64.

According to a national study of arthritis in the workplace, Canadians with arthritis are giving up breaks to complete tasks, sacrificing sick days, and taking vacation time to recuperate at home in order to continue working.

?There?s a lot of variability, but some participants have said that the psychological stress caused by trying to cope with arthritis and work can actually contribute to their illness,? said Monique Gignac, Ph.D., Scientist, Division of Outcomes & Population Health, The Toronto Western Research Institute, The University Health Network. Gignac is leading the research project entitled, Arthritis & Employment.

In response to this and other studies, The Arthritis Society launched a workplace program to help people with arthritis and their employers better manage the disease. By offering specific information and innovative suggestions about how to effectively manage the disease in a work environment, The Arthritis Society hopes to help people with arthritis better cope in the workplace. The information will benefit both employees and employers and will be available in printed handouts, through this Web site, as well as from Society offices across the country.

For more information on arthritis, please contact The Arthritis Society at 1.800.321.1433, e-mail info@bc.arthritis.ca, or go to www.arthritis.ca/bc