L'Association pour la santé environnementale du Québec / Environmental Health Association of Québec

ASEQ-EHAQ Letter to Quebec Parties


I wanted to reach out to you to discuss the state of support for people with disabilities particularly multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). This disability is recognized by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and people experiencing MCS have higher rates of unemployment, refusal of accommodation leading to inaccessibility, lack of access to healthcare and support, all of which contribute to high rates of isolation, homelessness, and low socioeconomic status. Over 1 million people across Canada are diagnosed with this disability. In Québec, the number of diagnosed cases exceed 250,000. We also know from Statistics Canda, that the numbers of people experiencing MCS is increasing. This community has also had many people applying for medical assistance in dying (MAiD) as the only solution offered for their disability as a result of a lack of resources, support and particularly affordable housing that is accessible.

As a voter in the upcoming election, this issue of lack of support, recognition, and affordable, healthy housing is a pressing issue. I would like to request your party’s position on this issue and how you will address this affordable accessible housing crisis which is leading to loss of life for people with disabilities across the country.

I would like to request your party’s commitment to the following:

  1. Election spaces must be accessible (fragrance-free with least toxic products being used for cleaning, etc.) so that people disabled with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) have accessible spaces to exercise their right to vote.
  2. MCS must be immediately recognized as a physical health condition, and a diagnostic code must be assigned to this condition.
  3. Awareness and education on MCS from a Government of Québec website must be expanded to educate, create awareness and eliminate the severe stigmatization that currently exists. This content must be created with the collaboration of people with MCS and MCS groups given that they have lived experience with MCS. This is crucial in keeping with the international slogan on disability, Nothing about us, without us!
  4. The Québec Human Rights and the Rights of Youth Commission must offer appropriate protections for all Quebecers. This must be clearly mentioned with clear definitions of all accommodations on the website of the Québec Human Rights and the Rights of Youth Commission Quebec Human Rights Commissions and Children’s Commission.
  5. The development of private sector research to develop healthy products must be encouraged and supported so that there are safe products for people experiencing MCS.
  6. Healthy products for all applications must be supported and prioritized.
  7. Implement legislation to change the use of chemical products legal in Quebec to reduce the growing numbers of people developing MCS. This type of legislation has been created for example, Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals or REACH in Europe which has been in force since 2007. The use of certain chemicals in Québec should be banned.
  8. Implement legislation to ensure companies disclose the harmful chemicals such as carcinogens, endocrine disruptors (EDCs), neurotoxins, sensitizers (leading to MCS), contained in their products. This legislation exists in California, titled Proposition 65, and ensures consumers can make informed choices about their chemical exposures.
  9. Centers for excellence for MCS funded by the Ministry of Health and Social Services Québec must be established: for health care, research, awareness and education – with appropriate inclusion of lived experience, groups, and experts, on MCS.
  10. Expand provincially funded research on MCS – with appropriate inclusion of lived experience, groups and experts, on MCS.
  11. Under UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, mandate that all health care in Quebec is fragrance-free, an essential and appropriate accommodation in order to ensure access to healthcare facilities for people with MCS.
  12. Use only effective, least-toxic solutions during this pandemic and future events, keeping in mind the health condition of MCS.
  13. That the work being presently done for accessibility, for people experiencing MCS, under the Accessibility Act, be implemented in all Government of Quebec buildings and introduced in establishments, institutions, including places of learning and worship, and that people and groups with lived experience be actively included in the process of developing appropriate policies.

I look forward to receiving an answer regarding your party’s position and commitment to protecting this community and preventing the immense suffering and unnecessary death of many people in the disability community.

Thank you for your time.