Category Archives: Environmental Sensitivities

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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Accessibility STOP Signs

I ran across a sign that the lung association had created, and while I am glad they are doing something , I found the message and visual required some tweaking.

Of course, the lung association didn’t come up with the term “sensitive”, it’s what is used in human rights laws, but it seems to have created an impression in the public’s mind that chemical and environmental sensitivities are trivial, and not disabling or even life threatening like they can be.

It also needs to be said that signs without enforcement are endangering lives and perpetuating harm, systemic accessibility barriers, discrimination, and forced isolated segregation for those who are disabled by any or repeated exposures.

To download printable posters, see below.

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Three New Videos About Environmental Sensitivities

 

EHAQ (Environmental Health Association of Québec) is presenting three new videos for

Environmental Sensitivity Awareness Day – May 12, 2019

Presentations are from:

John Molot MD.

“Numerous papers have been published supporting a biological explanation for MCS. These will be reviewed as well as the evolving medical and political perspective.”

David Fancy Ph.D.

…”Drawing from insights from the ‘social model of disability’ this presentation identifies how the current cultural moment presents systematic barriers, negative attitudes and ongoing electromagnetic wounding that puts the responsibility on society for being the main contributing factor in disabling EHS persons.”

Meg Sears Ph.D.

…” Sears notes the urgency of curbing harmful products and thus chronic disease because as people are getting sicker, families and society also suffer and the healthcare budget balloons faster than the Gross Domestic Product – clearly an unsustainable situation.”

 

The videos are available in both English and French.
There’s no need to register this year, just visit the website:

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Welcome to the 2019 Edition of MCS/ES Awareness Month

It’s that time of year again!

We’re only a little tired of folks keeping their heads in the sand for decades.

The good (and sad) news is:

we’ve multiplied too much to ignore anymore!
(and there are more joining our ranks every day)

Major brands have started making fun of us and are co-opting our language,
so we know we’re making progress, even if it seems slow.

 

SPEAKING UP MAKES A DIFFERENCE!

 

If you are new to this, to learn more about  MCS/ES, you can start here:
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