OTTAWA, May 24, 2016 /CNW/ - While Canada has the highest rate of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) inthe world, we may not be doing enough in terms of providing appropriate workplace accommodations and income supports for this population and their caregivers, according to a new report by The Conference Board of Canada's Canadian
"When people living with multiple sclerosis or their caregivers are unemployed or underemployed, it is often detrimental to their health and financial situation. It also has a larger overall economic impact due to lost productivity," said Thy Dinh, Director, Health Economics, The Conference Board of Canada. "Increasing workforce participation of individuals living with MS and their caregivers would benefit not only the individual's well-being, but also provide significant benefits to employers, government, and society as a whole."
Without employment, individuals with MS or their caregivers are vulnerable to economic hardship, social exclusion, and reduced self-confidence. Individuals with MS who are willing and able to work can do so as long as the proper supports are in place. Helping employees with MS talk about staying in their jobs is also beneficial to employers, as it increases the retention of skilled employees, while boosting productivity.
The economic impact of MS is estimated to be as much as $2.8 billion annually. This includes health care costs and productivity losses. About one-third of the total economic burden of MS can be attributed to productivity loss due to unemployment and reduced workforce participation of individuals living with MS and their caregivers.
Released ahead of World MS Day, the report, Multiple Sclerosis in the Workplace: Supporting Successful Employment Experiences, identifies approaches that individuals, employers, and governments can use to support quality of life (QoL) and successful employment for people affected by MS. To properly address MS in the workplace, the study recommends:
Individuals with MS and their caregivers
There are approximately 68,000 women and 25,000 men with MS in Canada, representing about 300 cases per 100,000 people. This is almost two times higher than in the U.S., the country with the second-highest number of cases at 135 cases of MS per 100,000 population.
The findings in this report will be presented in a webinar Multiple Sclerosis in the Workplace: Achieving Successful Employment Experiences on May 30th.
The report, Multiple Sclerosis in the Workplace: Supporting Successful Employment Experiences, was sponsored by Roche Canada and The Conference Board of Canada's Canadian Alliance for Sustainable Health (CASHC) and contains insights from the MS in the Workplace Steering Committee, which includes the MS Society of Canada, Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work and Roche Canada.
Launched in 2011, CASHC is a program of research and dialogue, investigating various aspects of Canada's health care challenge, including the financial, workplace, and institutional dimensions, in an effort to develop forward-looking qualitative and quantitative analysis and solutions to make the system sustainable.
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SOURCE Conference Board of Canada
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