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

Contact your MNA

You can search for your MNA and find their contact information here:

If you are interested in contacting your MNA, you can copy and paste this text into an email or share with others who are interested. You can find the content of the letter here:

On the 29th of June, 2021, the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) (National Institute of Public Health of Québec) released a report that concluded that Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) is caused by anxiety. The report disregarded the expertise of researchers and medical doctors with training in MCS, as well as people with lived experience of MCS. As a result, the report has failed to include or misinterpreted several critical and relevant studies which demonstrate a biomedical chemical sensitization. By ignoring these critical facts, the conclusion of this report has the potential to cause immeasurable harm to people with MCS going forward.

Prior to the release of this report, the MCS community has been ignored. The correlation between the onset of symptoms in multiple body systems and the exposure to diverse environmental chemicals has been noted since the 1960’s by medical and research experts, as well as patients. However, this population has been given none of the necessary support or investment in healthcare, social services, research or housing. This has resulted in high rates of homelessness and unemployment amongst people suffering from MCS. Many also face stigma from society at large, not to mention the healthcare professionals who do not believe in the severity of this health condition, leaving the MCS community without support, and to fend for themselves. The continuous denial of their health condition leads to the constant rejection of accommodation requests for accessibility, despite the rising prevalence of the disability according to Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS 2015-2016, 2020). In 2015, close to one million Canadians aged 12 and older (940,500, or 3.1% of the population) have received a diagnosis of MCS by a health care professional (CCHS, 2015), with over one million diagnosed in 2016 (1,008,400, or 3.3%) (CCHS, 2016), and similarly in 2020 (1,130,800, or 3.5%), affecting predominantly women (72%) with a significant number (49%) over 55 years of age (CCHS, 2020). This report fails to discuss any aspect of how the conclusion of the report will impact requests for accommodations, healthcare, or support for this population despite expert recommendations to reduce chemical exposures.

It is well known that the avoidance of sensitizing and triggering agents, such as certain chemicals, is the best management for MCS. Prior to the onset of this health condition, people experiencing MCS were taxpaying citizens who supported and participated in their communities. Now, these same individuals are asking for the removal of barriers so that they can remain healthy and stay involved in their communities.

We must listen to the voices of those experiencing MCS and implement fragrance-free and least-toxic solutions immediately. Due to the lack of input from experts in MCS and people with lived experience of this disability, the report failed to make these recommendations to reduce chemical exposures. The implementation of these recommendations would benefit not only people with MCS but the health and wellbeing of everyone.

This call to action is backed by scientists and doctors who have read this report and have identified its many flaws. A summary of these flaws has been written out, which can be found here : Ultimately, the report ignores critical scientific discoveries and will not serve to help those with MCS, nor correctly inform people on this medical condition. We urge you to take down this report from the website of the INSPQ to avoid further harming the lives of people with MCS around the world.

Ultimately, Québec must support the protection of human rights and abide by international law to which Canada (and thereby Québec) is a signatory. Canada has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2010, and in 2019 the Accessibility Act became law, ensuring accessibility and protection of individuals with disabilities. This report not only undermines these commitments, it also disregards them, placing even more barriers for these struggling individual suffering from MCS.

I am extremely concerned about this report and want to know how you will support this community moving forward. I urge you to take into account the scientific leadership of experts in the field to:

  • recognize MCS as a health condition, and mandate least-toxic solutions and fragrance-free spaces for essential services, especially health care;
  • withdraw the INSPQ report on MCS from the INSPQ website, and revise and update it, consulting MCS experts, researchers, doctors, groups and people with lived experience of this health condition;
  • create proper legal, social, and medical support for this population to address stigma and ensure their health and accessibility to broader society;
  • consult relevant groups and individuals experiencing MCS in order to ensure proper accessibility and social support for this population;
  • ensure access to appropriate housing and healthcare for all people experiencing MCS; and
  • support the ASEQ-EHAQ housing project without delay and provide appropriate backing in order to ensure its swift completion to provide housing, health and wellbeing for this disabled population.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I look forward to an accessible Québec which protects all of its citizens.