What's New in Advocacy
Government of Canada releases Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy 2019–2022
June 26th, 2019
The Government of Canada released a $45 million Anti-Racism Strategy that will take a whole-of government approach to tackle racism and systemic discrimination, particularly as it pertains to racialized communities and Indigenous peoples. The strategy includes funds allocated for a National Public Awareness and Education Campaign, as well as an Anti- Racism Secretariat that will spearhead initiatives geared towards eliminating racism and discrimination. Funding will also be directed towards addressing hate crimes and combating online hate, as well as support for community -based projects that address racism.
Occupational therapists recognize the impact of social determinants on health & wellness and how racism creates barriers to occupational justice and impedes optimal engagement in daily living. CAOT will continue to work to break down systemic barriers to enhance social and economic inclusion for everyone.
Minister of Health Announces Dementia Strategy
June 24th, 2019
Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor announced a National Dementia Strategy (provide a link to the Strategy) along with $50M in spending over a 5 year horizon. Its objectives include: prevent dementia, seek better treatments and improve the quality of life of people with the condition. Occupational therapists work with people suffering from dementia by enhancing function, promoting relationships and social participation and finding ways to enjoy life.
The strategy encourages activities that contribute to healthy aging and that support older adults to age in place. Occupational therapists have an essential role in facilitating aging in place and can help prevent falls and other injuries through incorporating universal design elements within the home.
Notably, the strategy also references expanding the therapeutic use of a tailored person-centred care model rather than a focus on the condition. This fits squarely within the occupational therapy model.
CAOT will continue to advocate for the awareness and inclusion of occupational therapists in the roll out of this Strategy.
Sweeping changes recommended for disability tax credit (DTC): Advisory Committee
June 15, 2019
A report from the Disability Advisory Committee has recommended 42 changes to how the CRA administers the disability tax credit (DTC), as well as on other tax measures aimed at supporting those living with a disability.
The report was released following consultations among the disability community and health care providers on their experience with the widely accessed DTC form.
Notably, the recommendations include revising the list of functions on Form T2201, as well as expanding the criteria as it relates to mental function. Recommendation 19 states “That the Canada Revenue Agency develop a process for expanding the list of health providers with the appropriate expertise who can assess eligibility for the DTC.” (Canada, 2019) Currently occupational therapists are eligible to assess walking, feeding, and dressing, and not mental function.
The OT scope of practice, however, goes beyond those restricted categories. Many OTs in their practice assess mental functioning, particularly how restrictions affect their activities of daily living. CAOT believes that OTs should be included in the list of practitioners able to certify mental functions on form T2201, including the effects on a client’s problem solving, goal setting and judgement. CAOT will continue to monitor changes to tax measures and will advocate for an expanded scope of what OTs can certify on T2201. CAOT has been advocating since 2016 to help OTs assist their clients to better access the disability tax credit.
An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada set to become law
June 14, 2019
Bill C-81, the “Accessible Canada Act”, has passed and is set to receive Royal Assent. The bill is the result of extensive consultations on accessibility across Canada, and provides a framework for identifying, removing, and preventing barriers to the “economic, social and civic participation of all persons in Canada” The Act also establishes the Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization (CASDO) which is charged with developing and revising accessibility standards and the making of regulation.
As accessibility experts, occupational therapists are well versed in identifying barriers to participation and are an important voice in the rollout of this legislation.
CAOT will continue to identify opportunities to lend the occupational therapy perspective in the implementation of the provisions on this bill. CAOT submitted a brief to the Standing Committee of HUMA in the study stage and is meeting with stakeholders at the provincial level to discuss the implementation.
PharmaCare Report Released
June 6, 2019
The Final Report on the Implementation of National Pharmacare entitled: "Achieving Pharmacare for All" was released on June 12, 2019. The report with its 60 recommendations is good news for OTs. Why? Because it serves as an additional resource by supplementing their basket of options when providing services to Canadians: of all ages, from different socio economic backgrounds, with chronic and episodic conditions, living in poverty, living in rural and remote areas.
Part of the OT Tool Kit includes non pharmacological pain management interventions. Universal pharamacare is another resource for occupational therapists (for e.g.) who are working with people living in poverty. Universal pharmacare would provide access to medicines to the 3 million Canadians who don't fill their prescriptions because they cannot afford to do so. It will support the 1 million Canadian who currently are forced to cut spending on food and heat to be able to afford their medication.
Reducing the Role of Opioids in Pain Management
June 4, 2019
The Coalition for Safe and Effective Pain Management (CSEPM), released their final report “Reducing the Role of Opioids in Pain Management”. It is the result of organizations, including CAOT, that came together as an important voice to the pain management discussion in Canada.
The objective of the Coalition’s recommendations is to reduce the prevalence of opioid prescribing by optimizing non-pharmacological pain management alternatives in Canada.
Four recommendations were put forward to achieve a better approach to pain management in Canada.
- Non-pharmacological pain management is embedded as essential primary healthcare;
- patients and prescribers are empowered to be able to make safe choices in managing pain;
- alternatives are integrated into primary care settings; and
- there is timely access to these alternatives for everyone in Canada(CSEPM, 2019)
To read the final report and to access more resources, visit http://www.csepm.ca/