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COPD Awareness Day Act, 2021, S.O. 2021, c. 18 - Bill 157

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This Explanatory Note was written as a reader’s aid to Bill 157 and does not form part of the law.  Bill 157 has been enacted as Chapter 18 of the Statutes of Ontario, 2021.

The Bill proclaims the third Wednesday in November of each year as COPD Awareness Day.


chapter 18

An Act to proclaim COPD Awareness Day

Assented to June 3, 2021


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis and refractory asthma, is the fourth leading cause of death in Canada and the only one of the top five causes of death for which both prevalence and death rate are increasing. It is estimated that by 2030, COPD will be the third leading cause of death in the world.

COPD is a slowly progressive disease that affects more than 2.5 million Canadians, half of whom have not been properly diagnosed. In Ontario, approximately 10 per cent of adults are living with the disease. The major risk factor for COPD is smoking. However, other causes include environmental exposure to air pollution, industrial irritants, burned biomass fuels and a genetic condition known as Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. A more recent link has also been found between COPD symptoms and the use of e-cigarettes.

Major symptoms of COPD include frequent respiratory infections, shortness of breath, especially during physical activity, and a chronic cough lasting three or more months that may produce mucus, wheezing and chest tightness.

A test known as spirometry allows for early diagnosis of COPD, yet over half of the people in Canada suffering with COPD will not be diagnosed until they reach an advanced stage of the disease.

Increased public awareness, early detection and treatment are imperative to prevent or slow the progression of this extremely serious lung disease and will lead to reduced costs and longer, higher-quality lives.

Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:

COPD Awareness Day

1 The third Wednesday in November of each year is proclaimed as COPD Awareness Day.


2 This Act comes into force on the day it receives Royal Assent.

Short title

3 The short title of this Act is the COPD Awareness Day Act, 2019.