MS Society of Canada endorses Conference Board of Canada report on labour force participation
May 24, 2016 – Toronto, ON – On the eve of World MS Day (May 25), the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada announced its endorsement of a new report by the Conference Board of Canada – Multiple Sclerosis in the Workplace: Supporting Successful Employment Experiences. The report drives home the importance of support for people affected by MS – including those living with the disease and their caregivers – to enable more successful participation in the labour force and, in turn, enhance quality of life. Actions that can be taken by employers, governments, and other stakeholder groups to ensure such success include:
- Positive employer attitudes and accommodations for employees with MS.
- Early use of interventions and disease management strategies.
- Better and more coordinated employer and government supports.
“It’s so important that we share real experiences of what it means when a person doesn’t have access to the supports they need in order to remain in control of their own life, maintain their independence and feel confident and fulfilled despite all of the things that are changing in their life due to a chronic illness,” says Andrea Butcher-Milne, an MS Ambassador diagnosed in 1997 and a participant in the MS in the Workplace stakeholder workshop. “I was glad to see people around the table, including representatives from Employment and Social Development Canada, provincial disability support programs, and insurance companies, whose professional roles could directly improve the lives of people affected by MS. Knowing that those discussions have been brought together as recommendations in the MS in the Workplace report is exciting for me as a person impacted by the disease. The landscape has improved over the years, but this report will ensure that we keep the pace.”
MS impacts all Canadians – not only those living with the disease, but also their families and loved ones who come together to manage the realities of MS. As noted in the report, “the unpredictability and episodic nature of MS make it particularly challenging in the workplace. As symptom types and severity vary greatly, individuals with MS can find it difficult to manage their treatments, let alone maintain a daily routine and meet work commitments within the traditional employment space.”
“We are encouraged that the findings and recommendations detailed in the MS in the Workplace report align with the recent Institute for Research on Public Policy report titled Leaving Some Behind: What Happens When Workers Get Sick as well as the responses gathered from the MS Society's Listening to People affected by MS initiative, which saw thousands of Canadians impacted by the disease describe their employment experiences,” says Julie Kelndorfer, Director, Government and Community Relations, MS Society of Canada and a member of the MS in the Workplace steering committee. “This growing consensus in the public policy space strengthens our work to press for the renewal of Canada’s income, disability and policy framework on behalf of all Canadians dealing with chronic illness, such as multiple sclerosis.”
About multiple sclerosis and the MS Society of Canada
Canada has the highest rate of multiple sclerosis in the world. MS is a chronic, often disabling disease of the central nervous system comprising the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve. It is one of the most common neurological diseases affecting young adults in Canada. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40, and the unpredictable effects of MS last for the rest of their lives. The MS Society provides services to people with MS and their families and funds research to find the cause and cure for this disease. Please visit mssociety.ca or call 1-800-268-7582 to make a donation or for more information.
Lindsay Gulin, MS Society of Canada