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

Questions for all Political Parties

  1. People with disabilities across Canada face many barriers. This fact is very true for people experiencing multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). This condition and disability mean symptoms upon exposure to certain chemicals which can bar individuals’ access to many public spaces. These spaces can be grocery stores, retail stores, public transit, community gatherings, legal and government spaces, hotels and restaurants, and even hospitals. Many of these barriers could be avoided with expanded awareness and use of least toxic solutions for all applications and fragrance-free policies. What is your party prepared to do to address these extensive barriers for people experiencing MCS?
  1. People experiencing MCS often face a multitude of barriers even when accessing healthcare. With very few fragrance-free facilities in Canada, even ambulances, clinics, and hospitals lack least toxic product and fragrance-free policies that allow it to be accessible for people experiencing MCS. As a result, these healthcare facilities are not safe, and can induce symptoms for individuals experiencing MCS. This has led many Canadians to have to suffer in silence since they cannot get appropriate and safe healthcare. People experiencing MCS also face significantly higher rates of other chronic illnesses than the rest of the population. Lack of healthcare access has chronic implications on their wellbeing. What can your party commit to in order to address this devastating barrier?
  1. Many people experiencing multiple chemical sensitivities face many barriers in the workplace including policies that do not require fragrance free and least toxic products to be used in the workplace. According to a 2018 study conducted in the USA, 60.7% of people experiencing MCS lost workdays or a job in the past year due to fragranced products in the workplace.1 In Canada, these statistics are not gathered, but given the testimonies of our members, rates of unemployment and lost workdays are experienced at similar rates by this population in Canada. What is your party prepared to do to alleviate this problem and ensure that people experiencing MCS are not left behind as the Canadian economy recovers?
  1. People experiencing MCS have high rates of homelessness due to the barriers that prevent them from being able to stay in their home, or obtaining safe, least toxic housing. From apartment buildings that allow smoking to renovation projects, to pesticide use by neighbors, many people experiencing MCS are driven out of their home due to the many exposures which cause symptoms. What is your party prepared to do in order to address these barriers and end the housing crisis experienced by people with this disability?
  1. With very little research on MCS in Canada there is very little understanding of this disability allowing many people to perpetuate harmful and stigmatizing information. With no investment in patient care and research it is very challenging for people experiencing MCS to get adequate support. How does your party plan to address the lack of research into MCS?

[1] Steinemann, Anne. “National Prevalence and Effects of Multiple Chemical Sensitivities.” Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 60, no. 3 (March 2018): e152–56.