Frequently Asked Questions

Why a Framework on lung health?
Individually or collectively, everyone living in Canada is affected by respiratory disease. It impacts the quality of life for people living in Canada on many levels. People affected by respiratory disease face physical, emotional and even financial hardships as they try to cope with the increasing costs of therapies, the loss of their ability to work, decreased mobility and often their independence and quality of life.
What is the National Lung Health Framework?
The National Lung Health Framework is Canada’s coordinated response to the complex challenges presented by respiratory disease. The Framework is a collaboration of researchers, health care professionals, health and environment related non-governmental organizations committed to the collective vision of excellent respiratory health for all.
Who is affected by lung health?
Today, lung disease
  • Affects one in five Canadians (six million in total)
  • Chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) is the leading cause of death for Canadians
  • Is the leading cause of hospitalizations for children between the ages of 1 – 9 years old
  • Is the leading cause for repeat hospitalizations across all ages, outnumbering angina two-to-one
  • Is the leading cause of short-term disability
What are the impacts of specific types of lung disease?
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Canada has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world. Altogether 2.5 million Canadians are affected
  • More people will die this year from lung cancer than any other type of cancer, including breast, prostate and colon cancer combined.
  • Since 2005 COPD rates among women have risen at double the rate of breast cancer. COPD (emphysema/chronic bronchitis) currently affects 4.8% of Canadian Women
  • Tuberculosis rates among Aboriginal peoples are more than 25 times higher than those of other people born in Canada.
  • The rate for COPD among off-reserve aboriginal people over age 35 is almost double that for other Canadians in the same age group.
How does the burden of lung disease affect the economy?
  • Acute care costs for lung disease outstrip all but one other disease area. In 2004-2005, acute inpatient care amounted to $1.65 billion.
  • The costs to Canada’s economy are significant, conservatively estimated to exceed $15 billion a year.
  • Lung ailments currently account for 10% of the overall burden of major diseases.
Why does the Framework focus on lung disease?  
Lung disease has a significant impact on Canadians. Therefore, a specific focus on lung disease as opposed to combining chronic diseases in the Framework provides the opportunity to understand:
  • What is happening, i.e., programs, services, trends, etc.;
  • The gaps and what can be done to address them; and
  • Are we effective in responding to lung disease?
From this starting point, the National Lung Health Framework can identify common issues, such as prevention concerns and co-morbidity, and identify which approaches are most effective when working in alignment with other disease strategies.
What is the role of the Federal Government in the Framework?
The Federal Government is an important partner in the Framework. As an initial step and commitment to the Framework came in April 2009, when the Federal Government of Canada made a commitment of a $10 Million investment in respiratory health initiatives, over three years (2009-2012).
The first phase of this investment will help the Framework address two main priorities:
  • i) Baseline needs assessments for public awareness initiatives among high-risk populations, and
  • ii) Asthma awareness programs for school-aged children that identify and replicate successful models.
These priorities address gaps that were identified by the Framework in the planning phase.
How did the Framework develop?
For many years the respiratory health community has been seeking ways to work together and develop an integrated response to improve respiratory health in Canada. To this end, a variety of stakeholders, more than 500, from all sectors and regions of the country recognized the urgency of the situation and banded together to help develop this Framework, under the guidance of a volunteer Interim Steering Committee and with the support of the Lung Association and the Government of Canada.
What is the role of the Lung Association in the Framework?
Stakeholders at the initial meeting in April 2006 chose the Lung Association to lead the Framework. Since that time, the Lung Association has provided administrative and management support to the Secretariat for the development and ongoing implementation of the Framework. For more information on the National Lung Health Framework, please contact the Secretariat at