Neurological Health Charities Canada

Neurological Health Charities Canada

September 04, 2015 08:00 ET

Landmark Report Could Help Canadians Affected by Brain Conditions Remain Employed Says Leading Brain Health Coalition

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 4, 2015) - Neurological Health Charities Canada (NHCC) applauds the findings in a landmark report by the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP) including the call for a new and collaborative approach to Canada's income, disability and employment support systems.

"Every day, far too many Canadians living with brain diseases, disorders and injuries and their caregivers have the double dilemma of having to deal with a major health problem and having to cope with income loss because of no longer having a job. For the first time, we have a report that quantifies both individual and societal costs in excluding people who are employable from the labour market," says Joyce Gordon, chair of Neurological Health Charities Canada.

IRPP's report, Leaving Some Behind: What Happens when Workers Get Sick, was released on September 3. It highlights the need for a fundamental renewal of Canada's income, disability and employment support systems and calls on the federal government to champion renewal.

The report details the impacts and high cost of people not being able to work, even though they are employable, on Canadian households, governments and employers. It also clearly describes what happens to people when they exhaust short-term benefits without access to longer-term supports and the poor coordination among public programs.

"Importantly to people living with brain conditions and caregivers, this report's recommendations show a constructive way to solve these fundamental problems," says Gordon.

Reforms include improving the coordination of basic definitions and program criteria across the disability support system and enhancing the breadth and quality of disability insurance coverage within the labour market. It suggests the federal government could extend the duration of EI benefits and create a flexible work-sharing program, so that a person can work reduced hours while receiving Employment Insurance benefits.

It also calls for a better system for information dissemination and hands-on support to employers on best practices and resources when an employee has a serious illness or condition or must care for a loved one and requires time away or accommodations so they can continue to work.

The report was developed from a co-sponsored discussion on the burden and household impact of serious illness in Canada. Sponsors were the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Caregiver Association and the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. The discussion, which included 31 participants from academia, think tanks, government, employers, and private insurance along with seven health non-governmental organizations, took place in June 2015 and was facilitated by the Institute for Research on Public Policy. NHCC was one of the organizations taking part in the discussion.

The report complements NHCC's own call for action on the important issue of income and job security during the current election campaign. In March 2015, the coalition released a policy paper, Canadian Brain Health: Driving Research to Action. Among its recommendations was for the federal government to work with NHCC and other partners to identify barriers and ways for employable individuals affected by brain conditions to remain in the work force or to return to work easily.

Links

Leaving Some Behind: What Happens when Workers Get Sick - available at http://irpp.org

Canadian Brain Health: Driving Research to Action - available at http://www.mybrainmatters.ca

About Neurological Health Charities Canada

Established in 2008, Neurological Health Charities Canada (NHCC) is a coalition of 24 organizations that represent people with brain diseases, disorders and injuries in Canada. NHCC works collaboratively to increase awareness, education and research and improve diagnosis and treatment to benefit people affected by brain conditions.

Contact Information