Minister of Health announces new financial support program for eligible Canadian thalidomide survivors

From: Health Canada

Application period for the new program is expected to begin in spring 2019 and remain open for five years

January 9, 2019 – Ottawa, ON – Health Canada

Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, announced that the Government of Canada is launching a new financial support program for eligible Canadian thalidomide survivors. In Budget 2018, the Government of Canada recognized that some thalidomide survivors may have been excluded by the eligibility criteria under the Thalidomide Survivors Contribution Program (TSCP) and committed to addressing this concern to help ensure that all eligible thalidomide survivors receive the financial support they need.

A new program, the Canadian Thalidomide Survivors Support Program (CTSSP), will replace the TSCP. The CTSSP will provide a fair and comprehensive approach to identifying thalidomide survivors that is based on international best practices. The program will include a tax-free, lump sum payment to each survivor to help cover urgent health care needs, ongoing annual payments based on level of disability, and an Extraordinary Medical Assistance Fund (EMAF) to support survivors with extraordinary medical expenses such as specialized surgery not otherwise covered by provincial/territorial health care plans or home or vehicle adaptations.

Applicants who are eligible for the CTSSP will receive an ex gratia payment of $250,000, and ongoing tax-free payments. In addition, to account for an anticipated increase in the number of recognized thalidomide survivors, funds available through the EMAF will increase from $500,000 to $1,000,000 per year.

Survivors already supported by the TSCP will automatically transfer to the CTSSP and will continue to receive their benefits. They will also receive an ex gratia payment of $125,000 to equalize the ex gratia payments to survivors under the two programs.

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