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COPD: A $10 Billion Threat to Canada’s Healthcare System by 2030

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) looms as a $10 billion healthcare crisis in Canada by 2030 and, according to the Lung Health Foundation (“LHF”), is poised to dismantle the Canadian healthcare system. LHF is the nation’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and empowering individuals living with lung conditions across Canada.

In response to this crisis, LHF launches “Breathe Change”, a landmark series of three virtual policy forums beginning on Thursday, March 7 at 1 pm to 2:30 pm ET with Building Respiratory Resilience: Partnership for Improved Care & Funding in COPD.

The inaugural forum will explore policy avenues to aid Canadians facing the most prevalent form of lung disease, scrutinize the impact of existing COPD interventions, probe access gaps in COPD programming and support mechanisms, champion the imperative role of spirometry in early COPD detection and treatment, and evaluate the influence of healthcare personnel on COPD care quality and outcomes. The session showcases the best-of-the-best in COPD and lung disease research, diagnosis and treatment modalities, and policy initiatives. Leading the expert COPD panel are Dr. Joshua Wald, Clinical Practice, Firestone Institute & Vice Co-Chair CTS COPD Assembly – COPD Steering Committee; Dr. Dawn Bowdish, Executive Director, Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health and Dr. Maya de Zoysa, Respirologist, West Nipissing General Hospital.

The session welcomes participation from all Canadians, spanning public and policy spheres, healthcare practitioners, advocates, media and the millions impacted by COPD. For further details and to register for this free virtual event, visit

“COPD in Canada remains a grossly underfunded lung condition, with only 1 in 5 afflicted individuals even receiving the necessary diagnosis and care,” says LHF CEO Jessica Buckley. “COPD exacerbations currently rank as the number one cause of unplanned hospitalizations in Canada, creating a huge economic burden to our healthcare system. This serves as an urgent call-to-action for both federal and provincial health policy makers.”

“We Aim to Activate Change and Ignite a Transformative Shift in Perceptions of Lung Disease”

Urgency underscores Buckley’s message: “Through the largest series of policy forums on lung health in Canada, we aim to activate change and ignite a transformative shift in perceptions of lung disease, highlighting current policy efforts while propelling discussions toward new actionable solutions. The misconception that COPD solely stems from smoking must be dispelled, and our approach to caring for those impacted must evolve. Failing to do so risks compromising the quality of care for individuals dealing with this pervasive lung condition.”

Yet amid the challenges, Buckley says there is a beacon of hope for COPD sufferers. “The Lung Health Foundation wages a daily battle for the respiratory well-being of all Canadians as incidences of COPD escalate in tandem with wildfires, climate change, radon and deteriorating air quality.”

Attendees can also secure spots for upcoming lung health policy forums: Timely Triumph: Accelerating Lung Cancer Care – A Call to Action for Public and Policy Leaders (March 21) and Halt the Haze: A Strategic Approach to Ending Youth Vaping in Canada (April 18).

The Breathtaking Truth about COPD

  • Over half (53%) of COPD sufferers reside in long-term care or senior homes.
  • 1 in 4 Canadians will develop COPD during their lifetimes. COPD, while chronic and progressive, remains treatable.
  • An additional 1 million Canadians with COPD languish undiagnosed and untreated.
  • COPD ranks as the 5th leading cause of mortality in Canada.
  • Nearly 900,000 Ontarians were living with COPD in 2019.
  • COPD endures neglect, with merely 1 in 5 afflicted individuals receiving diagnosis.
  • The current tally of Ontarians who are needlessly suffering is intolerable.
  • 1 in 10 COPD patients confront hospitalization due to exacerbations annually.
  • Annual emergency department visits for COPD exacerbations plague 1 in 20 COPD patients in Ontario.
  • While overall hospital admission rates have waned since 2002, COPD patient admissions have surged by 9.6% during the same period.

Accessible Lung Health Foundation Support Programs and Resources Available 24/7

For those navigating the labyrinth of lung disease, LHF offers an expansive array of disease-specific support programs and resources. Visitors to LHF’s digital portal enjoy free access to Canada’s premier real-time repository of lung disease management, education, and awareness initiatives. Among the many programs offered: the popular and in-demand virtual Fitness for Breath, Smoking and Vaping Cessation Quash App, My Lung Coach and Lung Health Hotline, where callers can talk directly to Certified Respiratory Educators about a gamut of lung health-related issues and challenges, including asthma, COPD, lung cancer, pneumonia, RSV, immunizations, inhalers, medications, breathing conditions, and indoor and outdoor air quality.

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