Families discuss with MP next steps on Anaphylaxis Motion M-230
C.A.I. urging Ottawa to respond to growing number of Canadians dealing with severe allergies
October 24, 2011 – Families recently met with Member of Parliament Dean Allison about an increasingly common medical condition – anaphylaxis – that is both life-threatening and has no cure. Anaphylaxis produces severe allergic reactions that can come on swiftly. Symptoms may include difficulty breathing, heart failure, loss of consciousness and even death. Severe allergic reactions are medical emergencies. They are usually triggered by foods, insect stings, latex and medications.
Canadian Anaphylaxis Initiative (CAI) is a network of Canadian families formed to raise greater awareness of the realities Canadians with severe allergies face every day. Their primary goal is to urge Parliamentarians and federal officials to respond to allergy concerns involving public awareness and education, food safety, transportation, and research; with an ultimate goal to reduce the risks of preventable anaphylactic attacks throughout Canada.
The CAI has made progress by working closely with MP Dean Allison in raising awareness with his Parliamentary colleagues. The Niagara West – Glanbrook MP has Motion M-230 in the House of Commons which reads: That in the opinion of the House, anaphylaxis is a serious concern for an increasing number of Canadians and the government should take the appropriate measures necessary to ensure these Canadians are able to maintain a high quality of life.
CAI describes MP Dean Allison as “a champion of anaphylaxis awareness” within the federal government. The MP says that given the rising number of Canadians affected by anaphylaxis, we all have a duty of care to be looking at ways to reduce risks of severe allergic reactions. MP Allison comments, “Research reveals one in 13 Canadians suffer from life-threatening allergies. We all know of someone who is anaphylactic. So, we have a responsibility to pursue the available ways to reduce the risks and prevent unnecessary anaphylactic incidents.”
“With Motion M-230, we want to look at how we can help coordinate a thoughtful government response to anaphylaxis, to raise public understanding of life threatening allergies, and to provide greater safety for a growing number of Canadians and their families,” explains MP Allison.
CAI spokesperson Cindy Paskey outlines the group’s activities in Ottawa through the Fall. “We’re spending this Session of Parliament connecting with MPs and federal officials to make them aware of the issues as well as discuss some reasonable solutions that can be acted upon in the short term.”
Ms. Paskey adds, “There is a lot of good will amongst MPs who recognize the seriousness of anaphylaxis and what it means for health care costs, public and workplace safety, and the health of a growing number of Canadians. As families who cope with keeping our loved ones healthy and safe, we are hopeful that together with MPs, we will raise greater awareness and help to make things better for Canadian children and individuals living with severe allergies.”
CAI’s policy priorities have been presented to MPs through the past year in presentations and meetings. Their five priority points were central to last March’s House of Commons debate on anaphylaxis:
• Federal Coordination – of programs and services dealing with anaphylaxis and food allergy information
• Coordinated Awareness Campaigns – both targeted and general public information initiatives
• Long Term Commitment to Research – a strategic response and more dollars for research
• Improved Allergen Labelling – for foods, drugs, cosmetic and personal care products
• Improved Transportation Safeguards – airline and public transportation policies that reduce risk for food allergic passengers
CAI has recently unveiled a website that provides details and background on their activities. For more information, visit www.cai-allergies.ca.
Background: Anaphylaxis / Allergies
Anaphylaxis is a medical condition describing people with severe, life threatening allergies. Reactions are rapid in onset and may cause death without immediate treatment. Food is the most common cause of anaphylaxis, but insect stings, medicine, latex, fragrances, or exercise can cause severe allergic reactions. In Canada, the most common food allergens are peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, soy, sesame, wheat, sulphites and mustard. Anaphylaxis has no cure, though important research and efforts to find a cure are underway. Avoidance is the required preventative measure.
Food allergy is on the rise in North America and other developed countries. According to the study “Surveying Canadians to Assess the Prevalence of Common Food Allergies and Attitudes towards Food Labelling and Risk” (SCAAALAR), published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (June 2010): In Canada, an estimated 7.5 per cent of people have food allergies, representing more than 2.5 million people. [ SOURCE: Allergic Living @ http://allergicliving.com/index.php/2010/08/24/statistics-food-allergy/ ]
For more information, visit www.cai-allergies.ca, CAI Facebook page, and/or connect with:
Cindy Paskey, 905 934-0681 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Debbie Bruce, 905 828 1954 / email@example.com
Chris George, 905 641-0800 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Mindi Ferkul, 905 938-9100 / email@example.com
Gladys Vergis-Mayo or Roy Mayo, 905-893-4675 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Don Tulloch, Legislative Assistant, M.P. Dean Allison — 613 995-2772 / email@example.com