Category Archives: Environmental Sensitivities

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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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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Dear Quarantined and Socially Distanced

I’m sorry you have to experience this, but am glad that it is just a temporary experience for you and your family. I personally know how difficult it is (times  1000 or more).

Hopefully if you actually do become ill, it will pass quickly and there will be no lasting effects.

It is more than likely that most of you will have all the medical assistance, food, toilet paper, and everything else that you will need to have available to deal with basic creature comforts and needs, so it will be just the habitual and a few social comforts that are temporarily disrupted for you.

Did you know that more than a few people are not as fortunate, and experience this kind of segregation full time, with no vacations, with few, if any of the relatively easily accessible (to most) basic amenities? And they aren’t criminals!

Say what?

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Endangered Human in Jasper

If you are in or near Jasper, Alberta  anytime between February 29 and March 7, please check out Marie LeBlanc’s Endangered Human presentation at  Jasper Community Habitat for the Arts. I have seen some of it, and it’s very powerful.

 

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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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Holiday Canaries

Holidays
are not easy for human canaries these days.


But friends CAN make it better:

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Diffusing Health Harm on Unsuspecting Shoppers and Outrageously False Product Claims

Here’s yet another example of a systemic issue regarding health harming accessibility barriers, happening in a province (and country) where we have Human Rights laws that recognize people with environmental ‘sensitivities’ as having a disability, and where everyone is encouraged to remove accessibility barriers instead of creating new ones.

Unsuspecting Oshawa Costco Canada shoppers are being subjected to this fragrance assault and/or accessibility barrier between November 26, 2019 and December 8, 2019.

Info which was found buried on Costco Canada’s website in the Special Events page, there may be other locations as well.
How many members see these announcements?

In December, it appears that those who shop at  Costco’s Ste Foy location will also be sprayed, without alternative accommodations made for member shoppers whose lives are harmed by this kind of thing (unless there’s a public outcry before it happens).

Not only is the store air thoroughly polluted by this kind of diffusion (as experienced by someone who reported it to their mother who has environmental sensitivities and is severely allergic to fragranced products) for the 2 week duration of this “special event”, but everything in their store(s), *including food*, will also have absorbed substantial residues of undisclosed (and not food-safe) fragrance substances, that may be difficult if not impossible to remove.

This ‘special event’ can cause significant harm to people with asthma, autism, chemical and environmental sensitivities, fragrance allergies, migraines, and mast cell activation syndrome (to name a few). Even 2nd and 3rd hand residues of this type can cause serious (and life-threatening) health problems and long lasting disabling effects, so a suggestion of having someone else do the shopping is not a reasonable or feasible accommodation.

See below for the product details and the store manager’s and assistant manager’s responses when called.

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Safe Housing Survey

Do you (or will you) need safe housing?

Until the end of November 2019, Health Risk Navigation Inc. (HRNI) is conducting a much needed (yet simple) survey of the housing needs of the chemically injured in order to have quantitative data to show housing providers, communities, policy, and decision makers, funders, and other relevant parties.

This kind of data doesn’t exist currently, so even though safe housing is our core need, there are no official documents that anyone can easily point to.

More details are available on their FAQ page:
https://www.hrni.ca/Housing-Survey-FAQ.php

Some of you may have already done the 1st edition of this survey in June of 2019, when it originally came out. Thank you! Even though the survey now has a different format, those responses are not lost.

You don’t have to do the revised one, but it would be helpful if you could spend the 10-15 minutes to do so… just mention that you completed the original on the last page where people are asked to share any additional comments.

The questions of the initial survey and the current survey are identical, except that the current survey now has four new questions at the beginning  that seek  consent of the respondents to save and share info (largely due to EU privacy laws).

Every question also gives an explanation as to why the data is requested. Additionally, every question (except the consent questions) now gives us the choice to answer “Prefer Not To Say”.

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