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.