Community Engagement & Patient Advocacy

The GI (Gastrointestinal) Society advocates on behalf of the millions of Canadians affected by gastrointestinal and liver diseases and disorders. Staff and volunteer advisors work closely with healthcare professionals and governments at all levels to engage the public and government bodies. We strive for system-wide improvements in care and treatment for people with GI and liver diseases and disorders, because all patients deserve affordable access to appropriate healthcare and medication.

How we Advocate for Patients

The GI Society believes that promoting knowledge and understanding of GI and liver conditions will help decision makers and governments make good choices about healthcare priorities and spending, we serve patients by:

  • Reaching all levels of government (Federal/Provincial/Territorial) decision-makers, including bureaucrats and politicians;
  • Promoting discussions after presenting evidence to the medical community;
  • Explaining to Canadians what is happening to their healthcare system;
  • Engaging business leaders in the future impact on our society;
  • Writing letters as necessary, including to government and the media;
  • Participating in meetings on patient access policies across all levels government and with other patient groups;
  • Participating in meetings on the National Pharmaceutical Strategy across all levels of government and patient groups;
  • Continuing to develop relationships with key persons to influence change;
  • Holding public forums; and
  • Developing new strategies.

Better Access to Medicine

We appreciate that fiscal responsibility and proactive solutions are necessary. Therefore, in discussions with decision-makers who deal with rising costs of medications and for healthcare in general, we offer some alternative approaches to these vital and growing issues. These include encouraging governments to adopt best practices guidelines and to collaborate with patient groups such as ours to deliver programs directed at patient compliance to ensure positive health outcomes.

When we meet face-to-face with the appropriate decision-makers, ministerial and bureaucratic, we clearly convey the potential consequences of ill-conceived policies, and hold governments accountable for programs they administer. We encourage decision-makers not to take a narrow view in terms of the need to reduce outlays for the cost of medicines, but instead to approach healthcare costs holistically and avoid false economies that offload healthcare costs to other health budgets.

Highlights in Healthcare Access

We’re experts in providing patient experience submissions to support the addition of medications to formularies.

We advocate on behalf of patients in jurisdiction across the country, including to the federal and provincial Ministries of Health. We’ve been invited by the Federal Government, including Health Canada, to regularly contribute on national initiatives.

We contribute articles and have been quoted in various publications: Chatelaine, Today’s Parent, Economic Note, Institut Economique Molinari, Medical Post, Now Toronto, The Canadian Press, Maclean’s, Reader’s Digest, The National Post, and several patient/consumer periodicals.

We’ve made several television appearances across the country, particularly in BC, Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

We believe in teamwork and are very active members of these groups:

  • Better Pharmacare Coalition
  • Alliance for Safe Biologic Medicines (International)
  • Health Coalition of Alberta
  • Canadian Consensus Framework for Ethical Collaboration
  • Canadian Medical Cannabis Council Patient Advisory Committee


We use our newsletter, website, social media, and other media exposure to spread awareness of various digestive diseases and disorders and increase public engagement on these topics.

For example, April is IBS Awareness Month. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is so common that it’s likely you know at least one person with this functional disorder. In 2003, the Canadian Society of Intestinal Research (CSIR), our partner charity, advocated to mayors across Canada and succeeded in having April declared as IBS Awareness Month. We were successful in having April proclaimed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month, recognized by Health Canada.

Every year the GI Society and CSIR include an IBS awareness campaign. Visit our IBS Awareness page.

How you can help

Share and Connect

We frequently publish on our website and social media accounts. Stay in touch with us on Facebook and Twitter. Watch, like, and share our educational videos from our YouTube channel.

More importantly, when you hear digestive health information that doesn’t sound medically sound, tell us about it or refer people to our website to get the facts right.

Your BadGut® Story

Our patient advocacy work strengthens and is most effective when we provide first-hand quotes or stories about how specific digestive conditions have impacted patients’ physical health and quality of life. If you are willing to share your experience with the GI Society, please contact us. You can choose to have your contribution remain anonymous.

Do you have an experience you would like to share? Share your BadGut® Story with us  here.

Read a BadGut® Story