Crohn's and Colitis Canada releases Impact of IBD report, finds increasing prevalence of the disease


Multi-year research report a wake-up call for Canada's healthcare system

TORONTO, Nov. 1, 2018 - Crohn's and Colitis Canada has released a new, comprehensive analysis of the impact inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has on individuals, families, and the country as a whole. The 2018 Impact of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Canada report shows that Canada has among the highest prevalence of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis – the two main forms of IBD – in the world. Diagnoses of the chronic digestive diseases are increasing in both seniors and children.

The report was developed by independent Canadian IBD researchers, and its release coincides with the beginning of Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Month.

"The findings within the report should serve as a wake-up call for the Canadian health care system," said the report's co-chair and author, Dr. Gilaad Kaplan, a gastroenterologist at the University of Calgary. "One key takeaway from the report is that Canada is not ready to face the rising number of seniors, children, immigrants, and other high-risk populations who are developing these incurable and potentially devastating diseases."

IBD Rates in Canada as of 2018

Approximately 270,000 Canadians are living with IBD – 135,000 with Crohn's disease, 120,000 with ulcerative colitis, and 15,000 with unclassified IBD. By 2030, prevalence will increase by an alarming 50% with an estimated 400,000 Canadians diagnosed with IBD; approximately 1% of the population.

Crohn's and colitis can be diagnosed at any age, but the onset of symptoms – severe abdominal pain, fatigue, internal bleeding, and frequent, urgent washroom trips – typically appear in adolescence or early adulthood. Seniors, however, are now the fastest growing demographic living with IBD. The report also found that the rate of new diagnoses of IBD is higher among people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and rising among people of South Asian origin.

"Canada needs to be prepared for the growing social and economic impact of Crohn's and colitis," said Mina Mawani, President and CEO of Crohn's and Colitis Canada. "These diseases place a tremendous burden on individuals, on families, and on our healthcare system. The rising rates of Crohn's and colitis underscore the need to fund more research and improve access to specialized care."

The total cost of caring for people with IBD in 2018 is estimated at $1.28 billion, and that cost is expected to rise as more Canadians are diagnosed, and as the full impact of these diseases are better understood. "People diagnosed with Crohn's or colitis live with a serious disease that causes issues both inside and outside the digestive system, and that can take a toll on someone's mental health", said the report's co-chair and author, Dr. Eric Benchimol, a pediatric gastroenterologist at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario. "Crohn's and colitis affect all aspects of quality of life and that multi-faceted impact emphasizes the need for multidisciplinary care and understandably adds to the overall financial weight of caring for IBD," adds Benchimol.

The 2018 Impact of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Canada report is the first look at the quantitative impact of these chronic diseases in the country since 2012.

The report's primary recommendations are for the Canadian national and provincial governments to recognize IBD as a national health priority and to increase resources to optimize multidisciplinary healthcare delivery for all Canadians living with these diseases. To review the full report and all recommendations, visit:

About Crohn's and Colitis Canada
Crohn's and Colitis Canada is the only national, volunteer-based charity focused on finding the cures for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis and improving the lives of everyone impacted by inflammatory bowel disease. We are the world's second largest health charity funder of Crohn's and colitis research, and our patient programs and advocacy efforts support the people affected by these chronic autoimmune diseases, which cause the body to attack healthy tissue, leading to the inflammation of all or part of the gastrointestinal tract. Visit for more information.

  • 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.

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