During November, Crohn's and Colitis Canada is focusing on two central themes: access to medications and washroom access

Dark washroom

Toronto, ON, November 1, 2016 – November is Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Month in Canada, a country with one of the highest rates of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis in the world. Both are debilitating and lifelong diseases caused by an abnormal response from the body’s immune system. Canadians living with Crohn’s or colitis are making tremendous strides to end the pain and isolation, but there is more to be done. 

During the month of November, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is focusing on two central themes: access to medications and washroom access. 

“We have come a long way in increasing public awareness about these debilitating chronic diseases, but there are still serious issues facing the nearly 250,000 Canadians living with Crohn’s or colitis. During Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Month we are asking Canadians to advocate for ‘No Forced Switch’ and to declare washroom access as a basic human right,” says Mina Mawani, President and CEO of Crohn’s and Colitis Canada. 

Canadians with Crohn’s and colitis need stability. Don’t make them give it up. 

Crohn’s and Colitis Canada celebrates the introduction of safe, effective, and lower-cost treatment options, as the ultimate goal of any treatment will always be stability, achieved through disease remission. For those who have found a medicine that works for them, a forced switch to an alternative medication may put their stability in jeopardy. For this reason, provincial and territorial governments should follow Nova Scotia’s lead and mandate ‘No Forced Switch’. 

“It can take many years for a patient to reach stability and this often only comes after a process of trial and error,” says Dr. Brian Bressler. “The choice to switch to an alternative medication should always be made by a doctor in consultation with their patient.”  

Join thousands of Canadians across the country by asking that doctors and their patients be able to select the treatment option best suited to each patient’s individual circumstances.

Open your doors and declare washroom access a basic human right.  

Canadians with Crohn’s or colitis live with an invisible condition, and face pain, isolation and missed moments. These chronic diseases can cause 20 or more trips to the washroom a day, and each day, Canadians desperate for public washroom access are turned away. Patients want to be active, to work, to enjoy special moments, and lead normal lives. They can’t do that when they are denied a basic necessity like access to a washroom. 

“We are asking the Government of Canada to recognize washroom access as a basic human right by including it in the anticipated Canadians with Disabilities Act,” explains Eric Thomson, Manager, Public Policy and Stakeholder Relations. “Opening up washrooms inside federal government buildings for Canadians with chronic incontinence issues would set a strong example for other levels of government and private businesses to follow.” 

During the month of November, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada will be meeting with key federal government officials to advocate for the inclusion of washroom access in disability legislation. Canadians will have the opportunity to lend their support to this important issue through an online advocacy campaign launching later in the month. 

About Crohns 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 children and adults affected by these diseases. We are one of the top two health charity funders of Crohn's and colitis research in the world, investing over $100 million in research since 1974, leading to important breakthroughs in genetics, gut microbes, inflammation, and cell repair research as well as laying the groundwork for new and better treatments. We are transforming the lives of people affected by Crohn's and colitis (the two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease) through research, patient programs, advocacy, and awareness. Our Crohn's & Colitis – Make it stop. For life. campaign has achieved $44 million (or 44%) in its third year of a seven-year campaign, and funds raised are already advancing our mission. Visit crohnsandcolitis.ca for more information.  


To download our Make it stopFor life. print, radio and television public service announcements that help bring Crohn’s and colitis out of the shadows, please click here. 

To organize interviews to discuss ‘No Forced Switch’ and the GoHere Washroom Access Initiative, please contact: 

Adam Bornstein
Smithcom Limited 

Rasheed Clarke
Crohn's and Colitis Canada 
416-920-5035 ext. 215 

  • 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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