New report shows that some in Canada with Crohn's and colitis are being left behind

Report on the impact of inflammatory bowel disease with red and pink colors

Estimated 11,000 will be diagnosed in 2023

Calgary, June 1, 2023 – Crohn's and Colitis Canada, a national health charity, today released the 2023 Impact of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Canada report – a comprehensive snapshot of the state of care and implications for the future. 

(Note: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) describes a group of conditions, the two main forms of which are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. These cause inflammation, ulcers and bleeding in the bowel that can extend to the rest of the body. IBD is a completely different disease from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which does not result in visible inflammation or ulcers in the bowel.) 

The report includes findings that need to be addressed to improve the lives of those impacted with these diseases: 

The number of people in Canada with IBD is increasing rapidly: 

  • 322,600 people in 2023 (0.8% of the population) to 470,000 in 2035 (1.1% of the population) 
  • 11,000 people will be diagnosed in 2023 (1 every 48 minutes) and 14,000 in 2035 (1 every 38 minutes) 
  • The number of new diagnoses is rising most rapidly in children under the age of six years old. They and their families face particular challenges as they age 
  • Seniors are the most rapidly growing group since people with IBD are living longer due to better therapies, and our population is aging 
  • Those with low socioeconomic status, who live in rural, remote and Northern communities and Indigenous peoples face additional barriers to care 

Read a summary of the key findings


Dr. Eric Benchimol, report co-chair, and Professor of Paediatrics and Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Toronto, Senior Core Scientist at ICES, and Northbridge Chair in IBD at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, says: “We see there is a significant impact on mental health – psychiatric disorders are 1.5-2 times more common in people with IBD. Youth with IBD have nearly double the risk of psychiatric diagnosis. This underlines the importance of making mental health services available, especially in children, adolescents and young adults.” 

Dr. Gilaad Kaplan, a Professor of Medicine, adult, gastroenterologist, epidemiologist at the University of Calgary and report co-chair, says: “The number of people in Canada living with IBD is growing rapidly. Healthcare needs to evolve to include multidisciplinary care, including access to specialist physicians and nurses, mental health professionals, dietitians and others to improve quality of life.” 

This is the fourth comprehensive report, the first was published in 2008. They bring together experts to provide a comprehensive overview of the impact of IBD in Canada. The 2023 report is available at as of June 1. 

Lori Radke, CEO, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, said: “The report highlights the need to use our financial and health care resources as effectively as possible. That’s why, since 2016, our PACE network project has brought together leading Canadian hospital centres to develop best practices to help patients. We’re hoping that within the next two years, we start seeing these pilot innovations being rolled out across Canada and leading to better care.” 

An innovation for this report was involving patient reviewers. One of them was Léa Caplan of Calgary. She was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2020: “IBD has been an important part of my life for the last three years, so I was happy to be one of the dozens of patient partners. It’s meaningful to know that this report was prepared with individuals living with IBD and is for individuals living with IBD. Our voices are being heard.”

About Crohn’s and Colitis Canada 

We are on a relentless journey to transform the lives of people affected by Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis by delivering impact at all stages of life, in every corner of the country, by 

  • finding the cures for these lifelong diseases, and  
  • improving the quality of life of everyone affected by these diseases.  

Our 2023-2026 Impact Strategy creates a roadmap for our journey with a focus on 

  • accelerating the impact of research – address key gaps and success factors; shorten the timeline from discovery to patient impact 
  • reaching further – help more people with Crohn’s and colitis and their caregivers with our wide range of programs 
  • boosting awareness and understanding – engage and motivate Canadians 
  • driving system change – advocate and partner to influence change 

Follow us at, @getgutsycanada on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok, and YouTube at Crohn’s and Colitis Canada on LinkedIn

For more information, contact: 
Paul Kilbertus 
Senior Manager, Communications and PR, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada 

  • 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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