HUMA Committee News Release
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Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities
Comité permanent des ressources humaines, du développement des compétences, du développement social et de la condition des personnes handicapées
For immediate release
House of Commons Committee tables its report Taking Action: Improving the Lives of Canadians Living with Episodic Disabilities
Ottawa, March 22, 2019 -
Episodic disabilities are the result of medical conditions or diseases that are prolonged and often lifelong but have unpredictable episodes of illness and disability. Examples of chronic conditions and diseases that are episodically disabling include: arthritis, Crohn’s and colitis, HIV/AIDS, mental illness, multiple sclerosis, as well as some forms of cancer and rare diseases. All too often, these conditions have a negative impact on workforce participation and income security.
Today, Bryan May, Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, presented the Committee’s 15th report in the House of Commons. “We are proud of the work we’ve done on this study and the resulting report has some great recommendations,” said Mr. May.
Entitled, Taking Action: Improving the Lives of Canadians Living with Episodic Disabilities, the report was inspired by a motion sponsored by David Yurdiga (Member of Parliament for Fort McMurray – Cold Lake). MP Yurdiga told the Committee, “In Canada, support for persons with disabilities is built on a binary switch, either you can work or you cannot. However, life with episodic disabilities is not that black and white. Special requirements must be considered for people with episodic disabilities.”
The goal of MP Yurdiga’s private Members’ motion was to study how the needs of people with episodic disabilities are addressed in government policies that support people with disabilities more broadly and to recommend legislative and policy changes that will ensure that they have equitable access to relevant programs.
The Committee’s report is based upon testimony provided by a variety of witnesses – including people living with episodic disabilities. The report presents new data on episodic disability and speaks clearly to the need to expand our understanding of disability to include episodic experiences. It also underscores the desire of people with episodic disabilities to remain active and productive in the labour force while recognizing that they need more support, including income support during periods when their disability prevents them from working. The report presents conclusions and the Committee’s recommendations to Employment and Social Development Canada, including recommendations to work together with other federal departments and agencies as well as other levels of government to address the challenges facing people with episodic disabilities.
The Committee is composed of 14 Members of Parliament. It is chaired by Bryan May (Cambridge) and its vice-chairs are John Barlow (Foothills) and Brigitte Sansoucy (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot). The other committee members are: Rodger Cuzner (Cape Breton—Canso), Kerry Diotte (Edmonton Griesbach), Rosemarie Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster), Gordie Hogg (South Surrey—White Rock), Wayne Long (Saint John—Rothesay), Robert J. Morrissey (Egmont), Sherry Romanado (Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne), Dan Ruimy (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge), Ramesh Sangha (Brampton Centre), Adam Vaughan (Spadina—Fort York), and Kate Young (London West).
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