MS Society of Canada Hails Consideration of Disability Benefit Legislation

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by Mary Chapman |

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Formal consideration of legislation to establish a Canada Disability Benefit, with the expectation the measure will provide financial support to Canadians who live with multiple sclerosis (MS), is being praised by the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.

On June 2, the legislation was tabled in Canada’s House of Commons, meaning it is officially under consideration. With more than 90,000 people living with the progressive neurodegenerative disorder, Canada has one of the highest MS rates in the world.

Such a benefit would mean direct payments to disabled individuals, including those who have an episodic disability as set forth in the Accessible Canada Act, landmark federal legislation with a goal of achieving a barrier-free Canada by 2040.

Expenses related to medication, equipment, services, and treatment pose a substantial burden to patients and their families. People who have a disability also often earn less than individuals who do not.

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In March, the society began circulating an online petition in support of the Canada Disability Benefit. Within 24 hours of the petition’s launch, the petition garnered nearly 10,000 signatures from people throughout Canada, which the organization said signals widespread support for introduction of the legislation.

In May, for MS Awareness Month, society representatives met with more than 60 parliamentarians to discuss key issues of MS, and emphasized the importance of swift introduction for the Canada Disability Act, as well as assurance the benefit ultimately would include MS patients.

“We received an incredible amount of support from members of Parliament and senators about the need to provide income support to Canadians living with MS during our Day on the Hill meetings,” Benjamin Davis, senior vice president, mission, MS Society of Canada, said in a press release. “We look forward to continuing our advocacy work with the federal government as this legislation moves through the legislative process to ensure that this benefit is inclusive of episodic disabilities.”

Last year, in the run-up to the federal election in Canada, the organization worked to apprise candidates of issues of importance to the MS community, including the Canada Disability Benefit.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenges faced by people living with MS has only heightened, and the need for information, resources and supports are as urgent and critical as ever,” the organization noted in its release.

To remain up to date on the bill’s progress through the legislative process, contact the MS Society of Canada at [email protected]

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