Essential Work and Services

Essential Workers and Services Icons

Healthcare and Frontline Workers 

Frontline health care and essential service workers with Crohn's or colitis need to discuss with their health care providers their personal level of risk and determine the best solution to stay safe in the workplace.

A combination of factors influence risk of COVID-19 including type of IBD medication (e.g. immunosuppressants), patient age (e.g. 65 years of age or older), having active IBD (gut inflammation), being malnourished, and other health conditions (e.g. diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease). To find out your risk of COVID-19 and what you should do, please visit our Are You at Risk page.

Watch the 4-minute below for expert guidance on what to do if you're a frontline worker on immunosuppressant medications. 

Please do not delay your medications if you are a frontline worker and on medication for inflammatory bowel disease. Watch 1-minute video below for expert recommendations on taking medications for Crohn's or colitis during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Balancing Work and Personal Safety 

People working in essential services in the Medium Risk group (such as health care providers) should consult with their health care providers about how to achieve a balance between the public need for these essential services with their higher risk of COVID-19 outcomes. 

Watch the 2-minute video below for expert advice on striking a balance between professional obligations and personal safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Communicating the importance of physical distancing

Continue to repeat the message that you need to be observe physical distancing in a way that shows you are afraid of getting COVID-19. Individuals not taking the risk seriously may not follow the distancing rules until they understand that many people are afraid of this disease.

If it’s an age related risk, younger individuals tend to be less concerned about distancing. Remind younger people they need to social distance for other people, those who are at high risk of having bad outcomes from COVID-19. We are distancing for our society and not for ourselves.

Watch the 3-minute video below for expert tips on communicating the importance of staying away to other people.

Resources for Patients

The Crohn's and Colitis Canada COVID-19 Task Force has developed a letter of support for people affected by IBD that can be provided to employers and school administrators.

The letter outlines the impact of COVID-19 on people living with Crohn's or colitis, guidance for immunocompromised patients, and accommodations for work and school. Please click here to download a copy of the letter. 

Dr Benchimol and Dr Kaplan photos

Want to help boost our research initiatives?

Text CURE to 20222 to donate $25 to support Crohn’s and Colitis Canada’s world class research projects!


  • Canada has among the highest incidence rates of Crohn's and colitis in the world.
  • 1 in 140 Canadians lives with Crohn’s or colitis.
  • Families new to Canada are developing these diseases for the first time.
  • Incidence of Crohn’s in Canadian kids under 10 has doubled since 1995.
  • People are most commonly diagnosed before age 30.