Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to speak to the motion brought forward today by the member for Fort McMurray—Cold Lake. This is a very interesting motion.
Our government is committed to protecting and enhancing the rights of people with disabilities, including episodic disabilities, so they can reach their full potential. We recognize the importance of ensuring that Canadians with episodic disabilities get the support they need to stay in the workforce and fully participate in society.
As we prepare for the parliamentary debate on Motion No. 192, the views expressed by community partners and organizations will receive considerable attention. We recently undertook a number of initiatives that should improve the inclusion of people with episodic disabilities. Bill C-81, an act to ensure a barrier-free Canada, was tabled in Parliament on June 20. It specifically mentions episodic disabilities in its definition of “disability”, to ensure that the specific needs of Canadians with episodic disabilities are considered.
Furthermore, the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability is the first national survey to include a module on episodic disabilities. This data will be invaluable to governments, organizations working with people with disabilities and other stakeholders.
Episodic disabilities are conditions characterized by periods of good health interrupted by periods of illness or disability that may vary in severity, length and predictability. Some common examples of episodic disabilities include multiple sclerosis, arthritis, diabetes, chronic pain and some forms of mental illness.
According to a Social Research and Demonstration Corporation study based on Statistics Canada's 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability, an estimated 3.9% of people aged 15 to 64, a cohort 900,000 strong, claimed to suffer from an episodic disability in 2012. Some 40% of those people described their conditions as serious or very serious. Many episodic disability sufferers are able to work most of the time.
My time is up for now, so I would like to wish all of my colleagues a happy Thanksgiving. I hope that they enjoy every moment spent with their families and return well-rested on October 15.