Accessibility Recommendations from ARCH and CELA

Accepting the leadership offered by the Task Force on Environmental Health to address the health care system, proactive change can begin immediately at all levels of society including federal, provincial, and municipal governments and public departments and agencies.

These would include, but are not limited to, public transportation providers, school boards, and the private sector.”


screenshots
of  the report recommendations
with source added

 

The Legal Rights and Challenges Faced by Persons with Chronic Disability Triggered by Environmental Factors

From ARCH Disability Law Centre and the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA),  September 2019

“3. Conclusion While there has been significant research and study into barriers to include persons with EH disabilities, critical obstacles remain.

Seeking help in the health system, trying to find and/or retain adequate housing or employment, entering public spaces, shopping, or using public transportation, limit the inclusion of persons with EH disabilities in our communities.

Much more needs to be done to acknowledge the significant hurdles faced by persons with EH disabilities.

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The Canadian Human Rights Commission’s “Environmental sensitivity and scent-free policies”

The Canadian Human Rights Commission’s
Policy on Environmental Sensitivities
has been updated to add more on scent-free policies.

Image description: “Environmental sensitivity and scent-free policies” text on a blue background to the left, with a photo of a dark haired woman resting her chin on her hand, while looking wistfully (towards the title  text) out a window with rain drops on it, on the right side.

The new policy includes this:

“A scent-free policy is similar to other workplace policies such as
anti-harassment policies. It applies to all employees and is intended to guide
their conduct. If an employee does not comply with the policy, disciplinary
action can be taken.”

and this:

“If an employee with environmental sensitivities needs to leave because of a trigger, this person should not suffer negative impacts because of their disability
or their need for accommodation.”

 

Visit the CHRC website to download the PDF:
https://www.chrc-ccdp.gc.ca/eng/content/policy-environmental-sensitivities

 

Full text of the policy
(as copied from their PDF for people who have difficulties with PDFs):

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The Fragrance-free Checklist

 

It seems like the best way to clear up some confusion about being fragrance-free, is to provide a checklist of products and places where fragrances that can make you not be fragrance-free are found, so that you don’t inadvertently bring fragrances with you when going  somewhere with a strict fragrance-free policy.

The checklist addresses some common misconceptions about what being fragrance-free really means.

Being fragrance-free is about more than not using perfume or cologne.
It’s also not about skipping deodorant, as some people seem to think.

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Accessible Meetings Guide Addresses Chemical and Electrical Sensitivities

Another great resource shared by Mary Lamielle, this time on how to make events accessible for people with MCS/ES.

Accessible Meetings Guide Addresses Chemical and Electrical Sensitivities

accessible events

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Harvard Medical School Associate Professor Speaks about MCS: Video

Dr. L. Christine Oliver is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Co-Director of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.

This is an excellent half hour presentation.

Dr Oliver packs so much about the issues faced by people with MCS into the first 16 minutes of this video. If you can’t watch the whole video, at least watch this much.  Alison Johnson finishes off by reading from her important book Amputated Lives.

Alison Johnson is the author/producer/director of books and documentaries on Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. Visit http://www.alisonjohnsonmcs.com to download a transcript or to purchase her books or DVDs.

amputated-lives-chemical-sensitivity

Are Essential Oils Fragrance-Free?

Some people are promoting their essential oils and EO containing products as being #FragranceFree.

A few years ago others were claiming their essential oils were #ScentFree.

It seems we need to have a closer look at this before more people are hurt.
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Oops!

Greetings everyone! Please accept my sincere apologies for the post that went out yesterday.

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Opportunity to Share Your Chemical and Fragrance Injury Stories

 

 Women’s Voices For the Earth  are offering  those of us who have been harmed by chemical exposures an opportunity to share our stories and experiences.

Has Your Health Been Harmed by Toxic Chemicals?
Share Your Story!

“When you share your experiences, it not only changes people who connect with your story, it also changes you. When people share their personal stories on a social issue, they become more invested in that issue because it is now theirs (Beautiful Rising.org). What’s more, it is contagious: Sharing leads to sharing leads to sharing and helps communities and individuals connect over similarities and differences.

We want to hear from you! Tell us, how have exposures to harmful chemicals impacted your health?

And if you are interested, WVE can also help you amplify your story in the media, or with policy and decision makers.”

Learn more here:
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When Being Quarantined or Isolated and Broke is “Normal”

But Shouldn’t Have to Be

Guest Post by Joanne Cabe

I read a post from someone who was out of work and broke, who wrote that being quarantined and broke, or being an essential worker and working over time, isn’t normal for anyone.

I had to respond. I don’t know that it will do any good on people’s awareness, but this was my try for the day:

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Canadian Petition for People with Chemical and Environmental Sensitivities

 

Dear everyone, if you are Canadian, please sign this petition, and no matter where you are, please share this with all the Canadians you know!

e-2729  Petition to the Government of Canada

Whereas:

We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:

1. Create an international classification of disease designation code in Canada for environmental sensitivities so that those affected may have access to medical care;

2. Include environmental sensitivities as a disability that must be accommodated on all relevant documents and forms in governmental departments and organizations that minister social assistance, housing, medical, and other public services; and

3. Ensure all indoor public spaces are declared scent and fragrance-free.

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Proclamation, Video, and Other News for May 12th Awareness Day

Toronto’s Mayor John Tory has lent (not given) his support with a Proclamation for  for Awareness Day:

“Proud to proclaim today as Myalgia Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities Awareness Day. It is important that we lend our support and understanding to those living with chronic illness, especially as we deal with #COVID19.

 

(I’m sorry there’s no written transcript for the image)
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The Power of This Pause

Guest post by Judy Freed

The Power of This Pause

For just a moment, there is a pause.

A pause from the years of well-intended, ill-informed inquiries:

“So, what have you been up to lately?  What do you do for fun? See any good movies?  Go anywhere exciting? Get together with any friends?”

For this moment, nobody is asking me these questions.  Instead, there is an awareness that “normal” day to day life has been interrupted.  The questions now are almost always something like: “How are you doing?”  “How are you holding up?” “Are you ok?”

Finally – questions that make sense to me; questions I can answer without Continue reading

Homeless Canaries Need Access to Fragrance-Free Showers

 

I saw an announcement on fb from a city agency that was opening up an arena to allow homeless people a place to shower, and they were also providing soap, shampoo, and other necessities.

“People who are homeless or precariously housed in (the city) relied upon bathrooms and showers in public facilities. But, they have closed their doors during the pandemic. There are now free showers and washrooms open daily at (the)  Arena.”

Homelessness is something far too many human canaries are intimately  familiar with, since there are so few accessible, medically safe housing options available when our ‘sensitivities’ become disabling.  Many  human canaries are  precariously housed too.


Graphic image text description:

Everyone welcome.
Toothbrushes, shampoo, soap, and more provided.
Free showers & washrooms
———————————————————————-
ACCESSIBILITY QUESTION:
Is the soap and shampoo fragrance-free so that people with environmental ‘sensitivities’ could also access the space?
MAY is MCS/ES Awareness Month

I was (due to MCS/ES related accessibility barriers) homeless myself for a year, and the need to shower did not go away. I know several homeless canaries now, one who just a few days ago was discussing her attempts to create a shower outside the van she is living in, so I asked the fb page a question about accessibility for homeless canaries.

Here’s what happened:

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MCS Awareness Month fb Page

May is MCS Awareness Month, and there’s a new fb page just for this!

If you are on fb, please go “like” the new page, and then click on ‘following’ to choose “see first” so that you can see all the curated material that will get shared over the course of the month, making it easy for you to ‘like’ and share the posts with your fb (and other social media) circles.

As many have noted,  much of the world has had to adopt a ‘lifestyle’ much like we human canaries and other people with disabilities have been living for years, albeit without so many of the additional challenges that disabilities and chronic illnesses bring to surviving daily life.

It would be nice to think that this small taste of what we have been living for a long time will bring about more compassion, empathy, and changes of heart that will inspire people to remove accessibility barriers and welcome us in the world when everyone else is released from isolation.

To that end, we need people to know we exist, as more often than not, there is little to no understanding, or it is trivialized. Sharing info on social media is known to create change, so let’s all be a part of making a better, healthier, and accessible world for everyone.

p.s.

Please leave a comment here if you know of any other groups or people who have organized events or material for MCS (and related) Awareness Month 2020, so that we can all support each other.

New Photography Exhibit in May with a Special Video on May 12th

“Air on the Side of Caution”

From Arts AccessAbility Network Manitoba:

On May 1st, 2020 Marie LeBlanc’s Exhibition, “Air on the Side of Caution” will be available to view in full on AANM’s website (aanm.ca) and we will be posting one image from the show everyday on this event page.

 

Guest Post from Marie LeBlanc:

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