Winter 2014 (Volume 24, Number 4)

The Arthritis Patient Charter

By Dawn P. Richards, PhD

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The effort to create a new Arthritis Patient Charter has been sincerely grassroots, with all Canadian arthritis stakeholders collaborating under the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance’s (CAPA’s) leadership. The landscape of arthritis and healthcare continue to change and evolve; to reflect those changes, CAPA wishes to provide patients and the community with a tool that states the rights and responsibilities of today’s arthritis patients. CAPA also hopes that this updated Charter and the original Canadian Arthritis Patient Bill of Rights demonstrate just how far the Canadian arthritis community has come.1 CAPA will continue to work together with the arthritis community to enable people with arthritis to reach their full potential.


In early 2014, CAPA began conversations with the Ontario Rheumatology Association’s (ORA) Models of Care Committee about potentially updating the 2001 Bill.1 There was consensus between these two groups that, in the 13 years since the Bill’s creation, there have been significant positive changes in the arthritis community. The original Bill was really an advocacy document (thus still relevant in that capacity) but required an update. This update was envisioned to: revise the rights and responsibilities to better reflect the current landscape of arthritis in Canada, create an easily-accessible format (e.g., available as postcards in healthcare providers’ offices and online at CAPA’s website2), and better reflect the condensed nature in which our world now operates.


Click here to view the complete Arthritis Patient Charter

A new draft of the Canadian Arthritis Bill of Rights, renamed the Arthritis Patient Charter, was created with initial support from the ORA, engagement of patient groups (including Arthritis Consumer Experts [ACE], the Canadian Spondylitis Association, Patient Partners in Arthritis) and individual patients, along with input and support from The Arthritis Society (TAS), the CRA, and the Arthritis Alliance of Canada (AAC). Furthermore, all of these groups sought input from their own stakeholders through an online survey that collected feedback on the draft Charter’s contents. Over 730 stakeholders from across Canada responded, and their comments are incorporated in the final Charter. In just eight short months, CAPA mobilized the Canadian arthritis community to create this new Charter.


1. Canadian Arthritis Bill of Rights, 2001. Available at:

2. Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance. Arthritis Patient Charter, 2014. Available at:

Dawn P. Richards, PhD
Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance
Science and Patient Consultant
Toronto, Ontario


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