MEMBER STATEMENTS IN THE LEGISLATURE NOV. 5, 2014, STRONGLY SUPPORT NEED FOR CARE AND SUPPORT AND FOR THE ONTARIO CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE IN ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Mr. Bill Walker: I’m very pleased to rise today to recognize the Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Association of Ontario, also known as MEAO for short, on their annual community engagement day at Queen’s Park.
In October 2013, a business case proposal for an Ontario Centre of Excellence in Environmental Health was presented to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care with the objective of ensuring that effective and appropriate care is given to individuals who suffer from chronic, complex environmentally linked illnesses. To date, there has been no answer from the ministry on the approval of the business case proposal.
Our caucus health critic and Whitby MPP, Christine Elliott, recently met with members of the interim steering committee of the Ontario Centre of Excellence in Environmental Health to discuss the issues facing the hundreds of thousands of patients who are now, and have been for many years, without care.
Sufficient time has now passed to deliberate the business case, and we are calling on the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to act. Time is of the essence.
Today there are approximately 570,000 people in Ontario living with chronic complex environmentally linked illnesses, such as myalgic encephalomyelitis, or chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and multiple chemical sensitivities. Individuals living with these conditions have overwhelming fatigue and a host of other debilitating symptoms that can get worse after mental or physical activity but do not improve with rest.
I would like to thank the association for their excellent advocacy work for Ontarians living with myalgic encephalomyelitis and associated illnesses. We look forward to receiving the health minister’s update with regard to his approval of this proposal.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: I’m pleased to rise today in recognition of the Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Association of Ontario community engagement day. Today is a community engagement day for the Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Association of Ontario—MEAO is the acronym. In October 2013, a business case proposal for the Ontario Centre of Excellence in Environmental Health was presented to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. To date, there has been no answer on the approval of this business case.
In the NDP, we have a strong commitment to keeping people healthy, supporting health promotion and disease prevention, and ensuring a sustainable health care system.
From the business case proposal from the OCEEH, we learned that over 568,000 people in Ontario have been diagnosed with this chronic complex and environmentally linked illness. That’s 5% of the Ontario population. We also learned that people suffering from these conditions experience systemic barriers to getting the health care they need, because diagnosis and treatment of these serious conditions are not currently available in Ontario’s health care system.
Now we’re hearing from MEAO that over $150 million is spent annually to serve people suffering from environmentally linked illnesses, but it’s done in a fragmented way that does not achieve the desired health outcomes.
We believe this has to change. It’s time to support the proposed Ontario Centre for Excellence in Environmental Health and ensure that people suffering from environmentally linked conditions receive the effective and appropriate care they need to move forward in their lives. I want to commend those who are here today, on behalf of those affected and afflicted by MEA0.
Mr. Joe Dickson: I’m pleased to once again sponsor the Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Association of Ontario—MEAO, of course, is the acronym—who are here today for their community engagement day at Queen’s Park. That will be just down the hall, on the west end of this floor.
I have sponsored this association many times over in the last several years for their extremely worthy cause. MEAO supports hundreds of thousands of patients in Ontario who have complex, chronic, environmentally linked illnesses. As pointed out numerous times over the years, these patients experience systemic barriers to getting the health care they need because diagnosis and treatment of these very serious conditions are currently unavailable in Ontario.
One year ago, MEAO, together with the Association of Ontario Health Centres, submitted a business case proposal for the Ontario Centre of Excellence in Environmental Health to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, but to date, approval has not yet been given to the business case proposal. I request, and I’m sure others do, that with the assistance of our good Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Dr. Hoskins, we approve the business case proposal for the Ontario Centre of Excellence and assist hundreds of thousands of people.
Members are welcome immediately after this, of course, down the hall at rooms 228 and 230. We welcome to see you all. I will sit down so I can go down there and speak shortly.