News & Events

Manitoba has the Highest Rates of Kidney Disease in Canada

Newly released national data shows Manitoba leads the country in rates of end-stage kidney disease (ESKD).

The December 2018 Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) Canadian Organ Replacement Register (CORR) report outlines the state of organ transplants and kidney failure in Canada. The 2018 report features data from 2008 to 2017 but excludes Quebec data due to under reporting in 2011 and 2017.

According to the report, Manitoba had the highest rate per million population (RPMP) for ESKD. The average RPMP for ESKD in Canada is 1371.5 while Manitoba’s rate is 24 per cent higher at 1703.9. 

The CORR report indicates the number of Canadians living with ESKD (including those on dialysis or with a functioning transplant) has increased by 35 percent over the last 10 years.

When looking at dialysis alone, the number of Canadians on dialysis has grown by 30 percent since 2008. In that same period of time, the number of people on dialysis in Manitoba has grown by 45 per cent.

Today more than 1,700 Manitobans complete about 320,000 dialysis treatments annually both at home and in dialysis units.



Manitoba has improved when it comes to the number of late referrals for ESKD. Late referrals are patients who start dialysis within 90 days of seeing a kidney doctor. Manitoba had the second lowest rate in 2017 at 20 per cent while the Canadian average was 25 per cent. This was also Manitoba’s lowest percentage of late referrals since 2008.



The 2018 CORR report shows diabetes continuing to be the leading cause of ESKD in Manitoba. Nationally, about 30 per cent of all patients’ ESKD was caused by diabetes while in Manitoba that rate is 43 per cent. The majority of Manitoba patients living with ESKD are between the ages of 45 and 64 – this age group represents 43 per cent of the ESKD patient population. An additional 37 per cent of Manitoba patients are aged 65 and over.



Manitoba is one of two provinces leading the country in the use of home hemodialysis at a rate of 3.3 per cent, while the Canadian average is 2.7 per cent. About 12 per cent of Manitoba patients use peritoneal dialysis which is on par with the national average of 11.7 per cent.



The report also shows that 1,339 kidney transplants were performed in Canada in 2017. While the rate of deceased kidney donation has increased 51 per cent during the last 10 years, living kidney donation has decreased by 11 per cent. More than 1,600 Canadians are actively waiting for a kidney transplant while an additional 1,000 people are in line for a kidney transplant once they are medically cleared to proceed.



Canadian Institute for Health Information Canadian CORR Annual Statistics 2018

20 Years of Manitoba Renal Program

Manitoba Renal Program 2017 – 2018 Year in Review

Kidney Disease in Manitoba

Transplant Manitoba


Brandon Expands Dialysis Services

Brandon Regional Health Centre announced the expansion of its dialysis services on December 17. Alongside its hemodialysis unit, the centre will now offer home peritoneal dialysis and home hemodialysis training and support for patients in the region.

Manitoba Health Minister Cameron Friesen helped announce the new programs.

“Right now, people have to travel or temporarily relocate to Winnipeg for home dialysis training and receive ongoing support from care teams in Winnipeg,” said Friesen.

“Providing more options for dialysis closer to home means patients can manage their own care and undertake their dialysis treatment without coming into the hospital or travelling long distances.”

The province is investing more than $500,000 annually to support the expansion, which will make home dialysis training and ongoing support more accessible for patients in the region.

The home peritoneal dialysis program, which launched this fall, will initially accommodate up to 14 patients. The home hemodialysis program, which will launch in 2019, will initially accommodate up to six patients.

“We are very excited to announce that we will be offering home hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis in Brandon, says Brandon nephrologist Dr. Sushil Ratnaparkhe. “This will allow patients in western Manitoba to perform dialysis at home and alleviate the burdens of travel for care.”

Nearly 400 people across Manitoba currently utilize home dialysis.

“There are many benefits for patients who are able to receive dialysis at home, including more independence, less travel, fewer hospitalizations, less exposure to infection and fewer dietary restrictions,” says Manitoba Renal Program Medical Director, Dr. Mauro Verrelli.

“It’s a way for people to live with kidney failure, stay out of a hospital and remain within their communities and at home with their families.

BRHC also announced its move to operate in-unit hemodialysis seven days a week. The unit, which previously operated six days a week, now operates daily which adds capacity for additional dialysis patients. The change took place in fall 2018 and did not require any additional equipment or beds.

During 2018, Manitoba has seen increases in the need for hemodialysis particularly in urban centres. BRHC’s hemodialysis unit supports life-saving dialysis treatment for up to 114 dialysis patients. Apart from daily support for chronic hemodialysis patients, the unit starts new patients on dialysis, provides emergency dialysis and provides dialysis for hospitalized patients or patients visiting Brandon for specialized medical care.

Most in-unit hemodialysis patients require 12 hours of dialysis over the course of three treatments every week. On average, BRHC provides more than 340 in-unit dialysis treatments every week which is nearly 1,400 hours of hemodialysis.

There are currently more than 1,700 people with kidney failure receiving life-saving dialysis treatment in Manitoba. An additional 5,495 people in Manitoba are being treated for chronic kidney disease.

Read more:

News Release: Manitoba Government

Learn about peritoneal dialysis

Learn about home hemodialysis

Recipe: Easy Chicken Souvlaki

A version of this classic dish that is designed for people living with kidney disease. This recipe makes four to six servings.


  • 8 chicken thighs (skin and visible fat removed)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried Greek oregano
  • Pepper
  • 1 – 2 tbsp. canola oil (for skillet)



  1. Add the chicken thighs, olive oil, lemon juice and wine to a glass bowl. Add the onion powder, garlic powder, dried basil, oregano, and pepper.
  2. Toss everything together until combined and the chicken is evenly coated in the marinade.
  3. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  4. After the chicken has marinated, remove it from the fridge. Preheat and grease your grill or skillet with canola oil.
  5. Discard the marinade and cook the chicken on low heat for about 8 – 9 minutes on the first side or until the chicken has browned nicely. Don’t overcrowd your skillet or grill as this will prevent the browning process, and that’s where all the flavour is!
  6. Turn the chicken and brown on the other side until it has browned completely and the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165⁰F (75⁰C), about 4 – 5 minutes.
  7. Remove the chicken from the grill or skillet; let it rest for about 5 minutes, then serve.

Nutrient Facts (per serving)
Calories: 178 kcal Protein: 22 g
Carbohydrate: 1 g Potassium: 229 mg
Phosphorus: 154 mg Sodium: 78 mg
Source: Printed with permission from

Printable Version

MRP Year in Review 2017 – 2018

Our Year in Review for 2017-18 is available to view. Featuring stories, stats and highlights from the past fiscal year, learn about MRP’s role in providing life-saving kidney health care, as well as kidney health education, in Manitoba.

20 Years of Manitoba Renal Program

It was in 1998, that the Manitoba Provincial Dialysis Program was mandated by Manitoba Health (under the umbrella of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority) to provide care for all adult patients receiving dialysis therapies in Manitoba.

While many dialysis units had been operating independently within their own facilities, there was inevitably collaboration between all units throughout the province. To facilitate more standardized care and smoother transitions for renal patients throughout the province, the overarching dialysis program was created. In 2002, the program’s name changed to Manitoba Renal Program (MRP).

“Kidney disease affects many Manitobans, regardless of where they live. A coordinated approach to kidney health care makes patient needs the priority,” explains Dr. Mauro Verrelli, MRP Medical Director.

The vision of the program included creating a uniform standard of high quality care, providing equitable access to all therapies and resources, developing outreach and prevention initiatives and building a provincial renal database in addition to planning dialysis expansions according to patient population growth.

There has been no shortage of need for dialysis services over the last 20 years. In 1999 the program was serving about 741 home and in-centre dialysis patients throughout the province. That number has grown to more than 1,700 in 2018. For in-centre patients alone, the program runs about 4,000 dialysis treatments a week or about 16,000 hours of dialysis.

  “With new patients entering our program continuously, it’s important to be able to give the best care possible while simultaneously working on getting them back home or as close to home as possible.”

The program has worked with regional health authorities, the Manitoba government, communities and other stakeholders to keep up with the growing demand for dialysis services. Since 1998, eight new dialysis units have been built. These includes expansions in major hospitals and new units in rural areas. During this time other units also expanded their capacity. There are currently four major centres providing dialysis through multiple units in their facilities and an additional 16 local renal health centres throughout Manitoba. The most northern unit is located in Thompson. Since 1998 the rural renal health centre patient population has grown from 70 people to nearly 300.

Another area of growth over the last 20 years has been the expansion of home dialysis programs. Home hemodialysis programs were added during the last ten years while additional peritoneal dialysis (PD) programs were also developed. The home dialysis patient population has grown from 198 in 1999 to 391 in 2018.

MRP Medical Director Dr. Mauro Verrelli

Manitoba Renal Program also cares for patients with varying stages of kidney disease who are not on dialysis. These kidney health clinics are located in Winnipeg, Brandon and Thompson. Alongside the introduction of eGFR (estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate) reporting on standard lab results, primary care outreach, and growing rates of kidney disease, MRP has seen an increase in referrals over the last six years. This amounts to about 1,000 more early stage kidney disease patients today than in 2012. Currently, the interdisciplinary clinics manage more than more than 5,400 people who have stages one to five kidney disease.

Unfortunately the growth of these patient populations in unlikely to slow down any time soon.

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of kidney disease in Canada. Manitoba has some of the highest rates of end-stage kidney disease in Canada and sees annual growth in the number of dialysis patients.

The program has partnered with several researchers on projects that aim to bring more early diagnosis and opportunities for treatment to all areas of Manitoba, including rural and remote regions.

“We are always focused on providing the highest quality care to our dialysis patients, but at the same time we want to see less people needing dialysis and partner wherever possible on screening initiatives that can help with preventing or delaying the progression of kidney disease,” says Dr. Verrelli.

The program also continues to adopt new, innovative technology that makes home dialysis an option for more people. Technology, accessibility and prevention will be key areas of focus over the coming years.

“There is a lot of innovation happening, from dialysis equipment to models of prediction to improve the timing of kidney disease interventions,” explains Dr. Verrelli.

 “The global community of kidney health care providers has really come together to share information and look for better ways to provide care and the renal program is proud to be working alongside them.”



Read the MRP 2017-2018 Year In Review.

(Written by Amie Lesyk – MRP Communications)