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Anaphylaxis Gets Federal Attention

A motion to raise Canadians’ awareness of anaphylaxis got a significant boost in Parliament last month when it received support from all parties during a debate in the House of Commons.

On March 21, Niagara MP Dean Allison introduced Motion 546 to the House. It argues that the federal government should take greater measures to ensure Canadians with anaphylaxis maintain a high quality of life. “My greatest goal with this motion is to increase awareness,” said Allison.

The motion builds on the momentum created by regulations [1] passed in February that require food and beverage manufacturers to clearly label top allergens and gluten on their packaging.

Motion 546 argues for:

The debate in the House of Commons lasted an hour, with MPs from each opposition party speaking in favour of Allison’s motion.

Allison began his speech by acknowledging non-profit group Niagara Anaphylaxis Support & Knowledge (NASK), which has been promoting the motion initiative.

Allergic Living interviewed NASK representative Debbie Bruce to learn more about the implications of the motion and where it goes from here.

Allergic Living’s Q&A with NASK Debbie Bruce

Q. What is the importance of this discussion in terms of getting recognition for anaphylaxis?

The discussions led to a new level of appreciation for the seriousness of anaphylaxis and the many challenges of avoiding risk. There was a stated commitment by all four political parties to work towards solutions outlined in the 5 points raised in the motion. There is a new found focus within Health Canada and other government departments relating to allergy issues.

Q. How does the election campaign affect the future of this motion?

The timing of the election is unfortunate for the motion as it is was lost along with the other bills and legislative agenda. The good news is the debate of the motion is on official report (Hansard) and can now be referred to when speaking in Ottawa to MPs and to Health Canada. With continuous reference to the 5 points, the MPs’ debate has put on record many significant matters and an approach to working towards solutions. (See the debate here [2].)

Q. Are there things motion supporters can be asking of candidates in their ridings?

Now is the perfect time to be speaking to the electoral candidates in your community. When they knock on your door – tell them how important Anaphylaxis Motion 546 is to your family. Talk about some of the challenges you face trying to keep your loved ones safe. Ask if you can count on their support. Don’t hesitate to phone their campaign offices. The candidates want to know what is important to their constituents.

Q. What are the next steps on this initiative?

Niagara area MP Dean Allison has committed to re-introducing motion 546. When Parliament reconvenes, Mr. Allison and families involved with the Canadian Anaphylaxis Initiative will work with new MPs and the returning MPs to raise awareness for the new motion. We will work with MPs to ensure the anaphylaxis motion is fully debated and acted upon within Ottawa’s bureaucracy.

For more information see:

http://www.nask.ca/events.html [3]