Responses to come.
With Statistics Canada reporting over 250,000 people diagnosed with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) in Québec, an increase of close to 70% since 2000, and over 1,130,800 million Canadians, a more than 100% increase in the past 20 years, accessibility is a critical issue for many Canadians (Statistics Canada, CCHS, 2000-2020).
ASEQ-EHAQ has reached out to every political party in Quebec prior to the election to ask them for their commitment to address barriers in society including to employment, housing, healthcare, and a lack of proper research. With so many people diagnosed with MCS these questions are critical to protecting, and supporting this population.
Once we have received a response from these political parties, we will post the responses here on our website, and also send them via email to our mailing list. If you would like to receive these emails and be a part of our mailing list, consider becoming a member here: Become a member – ASEQ-EHAQ
Oftentimes people can feel unheard, and unseen by their elected officials. This rings particularly true for individuals with environmental sensitivities such as multiple chemical sensitivities. With very few least-toxic and fragrance-free spaces and no investment in patient care and research by the government, it can be challenging to feel represented, but together, we can change this.
With the upcoming Quebec election, we must all contact the party leaders, as well as our local candidates to ask about their commitments, and positions on these pressing issues for people with MCS. We must act now to let them know that we need appropriate accessible accommodations for people experiencing MCS.
We have developed a list of commitments that are necessary to support people with MCS and ensure that accessibility exists through all spaces from healthcare, to housing.
This list not only benefits individuals with MCS, but also helps to ensure safe, healthy spaces for all Canadians. We must come together in order to let the government know that these changes are essential.
The list of demands that we have generated is as follows:
- Provide immediate appropriate, affordable housing with a keen focus on indoor air quality, suitable for people who experience this disability.
- 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.
- MCS must be immediately recognized as a physical health condition, and a diagnostic code must be assigned to this condition.
- 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 spirit of the internationally recognized disability slogan, Nothing about us, without us!
- 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.
- 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.
- Healthy products for all applications must be supported and prioritized.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 – making sure to include people with lived experience, MCS groups, and renowned experts on MCS in the process.
- Expand provincially funded research on MCS – making sure to include people with lived experience, MCS groups, and renowned experts on MCS in the process.
- Under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, mandate that all health care in Quebec is fragrance-free. This is an essential and appropriate accommodation in order to ensure access to healthcare facilities for people with MCS.
- Use only effective, least-toxic solutions during this pandemic and future events, keeping in mind the health condition of MCS.
- 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.
In order to make your voice heard, call or email the candidates in your Riding so that they can hear directly from you.
You can click here to find a sample letter that you can easily send to your candidates and party leaders by copying, pasting, and adding your name and situation as a constituent, or a concerned citizen.
Don’t be afraid to follow up with these candidates to ensure that they know how important an issue this is, and encourage your friends, family, and network to contact their candidates and the party leaders too.