On October 19, Canadians will gather at polling stations across the country to determine our next federal government. Elections are an exciting time: they are a means to effect change and trigger new beginnings, through the coming together of voters who want a better future for Canada.
As advocates for people living with MS, we’re focusing our efforts on two important issues: secure jobs and income for people affected by MS and a higher investment in MS research to accelerate the development of a treatment for progressive MS. We feel that concurrently advocating for change in these two areas is an optimal strategy for improving quality of life for Canadians affected by MS, including their caregivers.
When I think about our advocacy goals, I think about Alex, whose story I heard through Listening to People Affected by MS. When Alex was diagnosed with progressive MS, he had to leave his career because of his disease. Income supports help provide for Alex and his family, but gaining access to those supports was a long process. Alex and his family often went months without any income at all.
When we spoke with Alex about his experience, he said, “You have to jump through hoops to access employment insurance, social assistance and disability supports. It takes many hours and lots of visits to doctors, health professionals and government offices just to apply for the financial help you need. The process takes many months, and while you are doing this you have to go without a diagnosis, income, medications and at times, even food on the table.”
Alex’s experience is like so many others I’ve seen throughout my career: people living with MS encountering barriers to financial relief during hard times. This is why we’re fighting to make sure Canadians with MS have timely, flexible, and complete access to income supports when they need them.
We want to work with as many people as possible to make this access a reality—and from now until October 19, you can be one of those people. By visiting endMS.ca, you’ll be able to use your postal code to find your local election candidates and send them a message about why our advocacy issues should be at the forefront of political discussion during the election.
When you participate in the campaign, please remember to post to Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #ElectToFight—and tell people why these advocacy issues are important to you.
Remember to vote on October 19—your vote is a vote for change and a vote to #endMS.
I believe that telling my story could help. I’m the face of many Canadians who are struggling to maintain dignity, respect, and financial independence in the face of this disease. I have passionately pursued my career for half my life. First, completing my masters degree and then working for the same public healthcare system for 18 years. It’s my identity; my work and my children are the 2 things that get me up in the day and provide purpose. I’ve had to reduce my hours due to progression of my MS. I have been fortunate to be able to access my sick bank to ‘top-up’/supplement my income. And now I’m at a crossroads; I’m being told I can no longer do this, that the nature of my particular disability is considered permanent. Therefore the health agency is going to reduce my time permanently, forever affecting my income, benefits, and pension. OR, I’m told, I can take my disability benefits now, at my current FTE thereby securing my income and future benefits. I’m young and enthusiastic, and am a valued member of our healthcare team. Leaving my job is not an option, I know that I would whither and the effects on my health and well-being would be devastating. But neither is living off half my income an option. All im asking for is some flexibility and support when I need it most. I promise to continue to give everything I have to the organization and in return they would be giving me the gifts of dignity, respect, and release from financial stress. Please contact me if you think sharing my story can be of help to this cause. Thank you for all you’re doing. Shari
[…] Muck MS Canada is tons of fun, it brings people together, but it’s also a personal challenge, it’s good for you and most importantly, it’s good for every Canadian affected by MS. Thank you for being on #teamfight! […]