Tag Archives: ODSP

Event: MCS/EI/EHS, Housing & Human Rights: Press Conference

Derek Shanks is a 38 year old Toronto based black & white street and documentary photographer.

He recently photographed Olga, a woman who has commented here on my blog at times. The photos and some of her story can be seen on his blog:

All That I Am, All That I Have

Olga also let me know about an event she is organizing for the morning of Tuesday April 16th, 11am, if any of you are in Toronto and can attend to lend support.

Event details are on facebook:

MCS/EI/EHS, Housing & Human Rights: Press Conference

Access to Safe and Appropriate Dental Care for People With MCS/ES: Part 3

Part 3: Things I Need to Do to Survive a Trip to the Dentist     

(I have severe MCS, the measures I need to take are not necessary for everyone)

In addition to making sure I am fully prepared for what I need in order to survive the days following a trip to the dentist (supplies, food, frozen foods, etc), I have to prepare for the actual visit. Depending on my state of brain fog and or brain injury symptoms, this can be very time consuming and challenging.

If possible, I discuss these measures in advance with staff when I make the appointment, to make sure they are prepared to accommodate my disability related needs, and can be comfortable explaining them to other patients who might have concerns when seeing me.

At the cabin, getting ready to go to the dentist
At the cabin, getting ready to go to the dentist
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Access to Safe and Appropriate Dental Care for People With MCS/ES: Part 1

Part 1: The Problems

This is a subject I’ve been meaning to write about for quite some time, as I have my own serious dental issues much like like Doris, whose story follows.

We are dependent on ODSP and their dental program which does not cover our disability related medical needs of materials compatibility testing, safer materials or oxygen, all of which can be absolutely necessary to avoid serious health consequences from chemical exposures in dental offices and from incompatible materials.

Also, as Doris mentions below, most dentists have no experience with our specific needs.

I am aware of other people currently experiencing similar predicaments, in Ontario and elsewhere. I might be posting a few more stories as a part of this series.

We are looking for suggestions on how we can receive appropriate, safe and affordable dental care, which as we know is necessary for more than just dental health.

I will also be posting some steps and solutions available to those with adequate financial means to pay for them, but will start with the problems, and the request for assistance in finding solutions for those of us without adequate financial (and social) resources.

dental tools

What follows is Doris’s story, in her words…

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Not so Equal Access to Health Care in Ontario or Systemic Barriers to Access for People with MCS/ES

Some places like Ontario, where I live, have disability access laws that state service providers, including those in healthcare, must accommodate people who are disabled.

On a government website, it states:

Barriers to accessibility are obstacles that make it difficult — sometimes impossible — for people with disabilities to do the things most of us take for granted — things like going shopping, working, or taking public transit… 

(or receiving health care services)

When we think of barriers to accessibility, most of us think of physical barriers — like a person who uses a wheelchair not being able to enter a public building because there is no ramp.

The fact is there are many kinds of barriers. Some are visible. Many are invisible:

•    Attitudinal barriers are those that discriminate against people with disabilities.

•    Organizational barriers are an organization’s policies, practices or procedures that discriminate against people with disabilities.

•    Architectural and physical barriers are features of buildings or spaces that cause problems for people with disabilities.
Chemical or “environmental” barriers prevent people like myself who have disabling medical conditions from breathing and functioning properly when exposed to these invisible, toxic and disabling barriers, resulting in both short and long term impacts.

How many of us do not have safe access to healthcare in Ontario?
How many of us do not have safe access to healthcare in Ontario?

In the ” Guide to the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07″,  it says that Hospitals and health services provide goods or services  and as  designated public sector organizations should have been in Compliance by January 1, 2010…

It also states:
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Clothing and water issues

Due to the severity of my Multiple Chemical Sensitivities/Environmental Sensitivities (MCS/ES), I need completely chemical free clothes (very expensive) and a way to wash them.

By Linda Sepp.

I might be homeless in April without more clothing to wear than a tattered summer outfit and robe.

I cannot use the tap water, and require a heavy duty whole house water filtration system to make the water safe for washing hands, dishes, myself and my clothing, towels and bedding.

The delivered glass bottled spring water is expensive and heavy but I have to wash my one safe disintegrating outfit in it as I have no other choice. I can no longer afford to pay for this either, as ODSP is now deducting the $ from my cheque for heating this entire 3 story 100 year old leaky house, despite that I only use 4 rooms here (+some storage). I’m actually only able to wash my undies and tank top so that I can change them once a week now. Gross? You betcha. Dignified? Not at all.

In addition to safe water, I need a heavy duty, all metal, portable washing machine (pictured above), as I cannot use the basement laundry room here anymore due to the mould.

The Ontario Disability Services Program refuses to cover any of my medically required disability related needs.

In her report to ODSP in February 2006, when the Special Diet allowance was revised, Dr. Lynn Marshall, the previous director of the Environmental Health Clinic at Sunnybrook & Women’s College Hospital, outlined my health needs as follows:

“The most effective means of managing this condition is by avoidance of known triggering chemicals, and minimization of exposure to other ‘everyday’ synthetic environmental chemicals in food, water, air, and consumer products. As with intolerances to foods themselves, it is highly challenging and expensive to minimize such exposures. She (Ms Sepp) requires food (water, air, and consumer products) containing the lowest possible amounts of synthetic chemicals permanently to help maintain, and hopefully improve, her health status.”

My doctor wrote about my water needs as being:

“She also requires whole house water filtration (like that available in the Environmental Health Clinic, Dallas) to filter all the water including for cooking and drinking, as well as for washing clothes and bedding.” (See AEHF Whole-house Water Filter with Prefilter)

Imagine getting sick every time you wash your hands, dishes, or self. Imagine not being able to have a hot shower or bath to relieve your aching body when the aches and pains of fibromyalgia flare up? Imagine not being able to wash bedding or towels for a year. Sound dignified?

January 9th, 2009, was the day my water was contaminated with up-the-pipe repair chemicals, ruining almost all my clothing in the washing machine, and I could not go back to drinking or using it safely after.

The system is supposed to allow for basic needs and some level of dignity:

The Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) was created to meet the unique needs of people with disabilities. The program provides income support including health and other benefits for people with disabilities in financial need.

The intent of the program is to provide the supports necessary to enable individuals and families to live as independently as possible in the community and lead more productive, dignified lives.

So why am I not receiving the help I need?