In 2005, the need for a national patient association was recognized by Dr. Robert Inman and his colleagues at the Spondyloarthritis Research Consortium of Canada (SPARCC). At that time there were Spondylitis patient organizations only in British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario that had been operating since the 1980s under the auspices of The Arthritis Society.
Ken Mulholland, past president of the Ontario Spondylitis Association and Secretary of the Ankylosing Spondylitis International Federation, and Bruce Clark, Physiotherapy Advisor to the Ankylosing Spondylitis Association of British Columbia and Advisory Board Member of the Spondylitis Association of America, were asked to take the lead role in forming a Canadian Spondylitis Association.
A First Meeting
In March, 2006, following months of work in identifying and recruiting members for a national association, meetings were held in Toronto to arrange a first meeting of the Canadian Spondylitis Association the following month.
In April, 2006, Ankylosing Spondylitis patients from seven provinces together with members of SPARCC and The Arthritis Society met to select a Board of Directors, review the Constitution drafted by Bruce Clark, establish a mandate and begin the process of building the Canadian Spondylitis Association.
At the First Annual General Meeting in 2007, the first Board of Directors and Officers were elected. 2007 also saw the first National Spondyloarthritis Patient Forum in Toronto held by SPARCC, the CSA and The Arthritis Society. This was followed by a second forum in Edmonton in July, 2008 and a third in Montreal in March, 2009. Since then free patient forums have been held in Calgary, Edmonton, St. John’s, Montreal, Toronto, Saskatoon, and Victoria.
The Canadian Spondylitis Association was incorporated federally as a non-profit corporation in 2008.