Seminar Presentation 7-3

7-3 (Presentation within Topical Seminar 7):
Workforce status of people with arthritis aged 55 plus: leaving early and staying later

Presented by: Elizabeth M. Badley


Badley E1,2, Chan, CH1, Gignac, MAM1,3

  1. Toronto Western Research Institute, University Health Network
  2. Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
  3. Institute for Work & Health, Toronto, ON, Canada



With the aging of the population along with retirement at later ages, attention is being focused on labour force (LF) participation and sustaining employment among the older worker, especially those with arthritis. The objective of this study is to document the prevalence and predictors of work status of people aged 55 to 74 years in the Canadian population with self-reported arthritis.


Data were analyzed from the 2008/09 Canadian Committee Health Survey-Healthy Aging (CCHS-HA). Prevalence ratios (PR) for being in the labour force versus not were calculated adjusting for sex, education, marital status, and other chronic conditions.


Thirty two percent of the population aged 55 to 74 years reported arthritis as a chronic health condition, of which 39.5% were in the LF. Corresponding data by age were: ages 55-64 years, prevalence 27.7% and 56.6% in LF; ages 65-74 years, prevalence 39.5% and 18.5% in LF. While having arthritis slightly decreased the probability of being in the labour force for those aged 55-64 years (PR = 0.91 (95%CI 0.86-0.97)), having arthritis was not associated with working at ages 65-74 years (PR = 1.06 (95%CI 0.90-1.24)). In both age groups having two or more other chronic conditions was a major contributor to not being in the labour force: ages 55-64 years PR = 0.80 (95%CI 0.69-0.92); ages 65-74 years PR = 0.58 (95%CI 0.42-0.82). The majority of people with arthritis aged 55-64 years were still working. For those who were not, 66.1% said they were retired, 12.2% said they were permanently unable to work, and 11.6% that they had left the labour force because of illness or disability. It is unknown to what extent having arthritis may have contributed to a decision to retire.


The majority of Canadians aged 55 to 64 years and a significant minority of people with arthritis ages 65 to 74 years were still in the labour force. Supporting individuals with arthritis, many of whom also have other chronic conditions, to remain in the workplace is important for their health, financial stability, and quality of life, as well as for the economy.