Category Archives: Policy

Two Tales: Temporary Quarantine or Long-term Segregation

 

There have been several articles in the news lately about the experiences of people who have been forced to endure quarantine or social isolation due to the coronavirus.

Many other people are worried about having to stay at home for a couple of weeks, without access to their regular activities, because they have never had to think about what it’s like, but some of us (indeed millions around the world) have been forced  to stay confined and isolated, sometimes for most of our lives! Our stories are seldom told, and when they are told, they’re often dismissed as anomalies and quickly forgotten.

 

When I saw the following articles, I felt the need to add a different perspective.

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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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Attitudinal barriers, fragranced products, and invisible disabilities

Having been housebound for far too many years due to having to avoid exposure  to common, everyday products and materials that disable me, has given me time to observe the world (and sometimes even make a little sense of it).

Still, there are some things that make no sense. With over 404,207 Ontario citizens diagnosed with MCS, and 740,370 with one or more diagnoses of MCS, FM, and/or CFS (ME) (in 2016), why hasn’t the Ontario government done anything about the Task Force recommendation to raise

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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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How to Basics: Accessible Washrooms for People With MCS/ES

So many accessibility guidelines completely skip the fact that these necessary and super easy to implement accessibility measures make it possible for perhaps  1/3 of the population to use (or use without harm) a public (or other) washroom, and especially help provide access for those who have disabling chemical and or environmental “sensitivities” (a term that trivializes the condition and effects).

Fragranced products not only create accessibility barriers for people with chemical and environmental “sensitivities”, fragrance sensitivity, autism, sensory sensitivities, migraines, asthma, MCAS/MCAD, and others, but fragrance ingredients have been linked to a number of other short and serious long term health effects in the general population.

It has come to our attention that too many places that hang up a scent or fragrance-free sign in the front office, have air effers and scented soaps in the washrooms. That’s not how this is done.

How to Basics:
Accessible washrooms for people with environmental sensitivities

Image is of a public washroom with sinks on the left side, a cleaning cart in the middle, and garbage cans holding open the stall doors on the right. There are purple bars across the image with the following lines of accessibility tips text:

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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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