Fighting for Breath: Severe Asthma in Canada

Fighting for Breath: Severe Asthma in Canada

A Conference for Healthcare Professionals, Patients, Policymakers, Stakeholders and Industry

Toronto, May 6-7, 2016


Asthma, the third-most common chronic disease in Canada, affects nearly 3 million Canadians. Severe Asthma, a more acute and lethal form of asthma, severely impacts the health and well-being of as many as 250,000 Canadians.


Severe Asthma reduces the social, financial and health outcomes for people with the disease. It is severe enough to have a noticeable impact on the Canadian economy. Direct and indirect costs associated with treating asthma tops more than $1-billion a year in Canada.


Severe Asthma is generally not well-understood and often not correctly diagnosed. A recent patient study by the Asthma Society of Canada revealed that it is inconsistently managed by healthcare providers. Its treatment is also hindered by the availability of specialists in Canada and knowledge of new treatment options by patients and their healthcare providers.


The patient experience of Severe Asthma is diverse. This diversity suggests that it is not a single disease but there appears to be many types of asthma or phenotypes that may have similar symptoms but different physiological and biological characteristics. Treatments will need to be targeted to be effective.


On World Asthma Day 2016, the Asthma Society of Canada is bringing together researchers, clinicians, patients, policy makers and other stakeholders to examine the complex health, social and economic issues related to Severe Asthma. Research in Severe Asthma, new treatment options now available or soon to be available, and the patient experience will be presented. Disease prevention and management issues, including environmental considerations will also be discussed.


Fighting for Breath will conclude with a considered call to action. It will be the first step towards establishing national, provincial and territorial responses to a debilitating disease. Severe Asthma can be better managed and controlled than it is today. If we can rally against Severe Asthma, we will save lives and improve the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of patients and their family members.



The Asthma Society would like to thank the following members of the 2016 Program Committee:

  • Dr. Susan Waserman (Chair) – McMaster ¬†University
  • Dr. Alan Kaplan – Family Physicians Airways Group
  • Dr. Jason Lee – Canadian Society of Allergy & Clinical Immunology
  • Bill Swan – International Health Economics Association
  • Dia Sue-Wah-Sing – National Asthma Patient Alliance
  • Troy Ellig – Novartis

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