Campaign urges Members of Parliament to extend Canada’s Employment Insurance sickness
benefit period from 15 to at least 26 weeks and support health charities with direct funding

NS: Starting October 7 the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society of Canada launches the #TakeActionForMS campaign asking Members of Parliament to extend the Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefit from 15 to at least 26 weeks. They’re also asking that and support Canadian health charities with direct funding to sustain their critical health research and urgent supports that they provide to Canada’s most vulnerable citizens.

Through #TakeActionForMS, an online letter writing campaign, individuals across the country are encouraged to send a message to Members of Parliament (MPs) across Canada to push for these reforms.  

On average, 11 Canadians are diagnosed with MS each day. MS creates serious physical, mental, emotional and financial challenges for tens of thousands of Canadians and their families. People with MS want to work, but it can be challenging to do so. With more than 60 per cent of people living with MS eventually reaching unemployment it’s clear that more flexibility is needed.

“For far too many Canadians who live with MS, the EI sickness benefit framework in Canada simply doesn’t work,” says Pamela Valentine, president and CEO, MS Society of Canada. “Health charities are more challenged than ever during this time of crisis and rapid fall in revenue, to provide the much-needed support to millions of Canadians who need help. We’re asking Canadians to come together to ask their MPs to support the MS community and health charities across the country by advocating for flexibility to EI sickness benefits and support Canadian health charities so that in turn, they can support Canada’s most vulnerable people.”

“The uncertainty of life with an episodic disability can be one of the most debilitating aspects. With that often comes stigma, and even the inability to sustain meaningful employment. People with MS don’t know when a relapse may happen or how long it will last,” says Patrycia Rzechowka, diagnosed with MS in 2012.

“Having support through EI sickness benefits would create some form of predictability in a life that is incredibly unpredictable. Knowing you can work and be supported when you need it would completely change the lives of people living with MS.”

Ask your MP to #TakeActionForMS by sending a message here. The website will enable you to use your postal code, find your local MP, customize your message and click send. Once your message has been sent, share your participation via social media using #TakeActionForMS and encourage your network to join the movement.