In October 2019, we asked the Conservative, Green, Liberal, New Democratic, and Bloc Québécois parties specifically whether they recognize food allergy as a public health issue, and if they support our National Food Allergy Action Plan.
We also asked them for their positions and plans on availability and affordability of epinephrine, access to an allergist, food labelling reform, investments in food allergy research, and how to build awareness of food allergy to better support families and prevent issues such as bullying. Read their responses below.
The Conservative Party has not yet responded to the questionnaire. However, in previous conversations they have advised that they are generally supportive of the National Food Allergy Action Plan.
The Bloc Québécois has not yet responded to the questionnaire.
Questions we asked the parties:
The National Food Allergy Action Plan contains a framework to guide future policy and investment decisions in support of the 2.6 million Canadians impacted by food allergy. The focus areas are prevention, management, treatment, and broad-based community and food system support. Does your party commit, in principle, to supporting this plan and its framework?
We are calling on the next federal government to commit to making a down payment on the implementation of the National Food Allergy Action Plan through a modest allocation in the 2020 Budget of $3 million. These funds will be used to, among other supports, lead the national implementation of the Canadian Paediatric Society’s guidance on early infant feeding and food allergy prevention, to help reduce the prevalence of food allergy. Our full submission to the Standing Committee on Finance is here. Does your party support this budget allocation?
There is currently just one supplier of epinephrine auto-injectors in the Canadian market, and this one supplier has had supply constraints for over 18 months, making it difficult for Canadians to fill their prescriptions for this life-saving medication. In addition, the cost of an epinephrine auto-injector can be out-of-reach for many Canadians, particularly for those without a drug plan. What is your party’s plan to improve reliable, affordable access to epinephrine auto-injectors?
Effective self-management starts with proper diagnosis by an allergist, as well as receiving allergy education and support from the point of diagnosis. Unfortunately, many Canadians cannot access an allergist and the problem is particularly acute for those in rural, northern and remote communities. What is your party’s plan to improve access to medically trained allergists so that no family has to go out of province for care?
New international research is re-shaping our view on how to prevent and treat food allergy, yet food allergy has not been a traditional research priority in Canada. Developing a patient-centered research agenda, rooted in patient engagement, and defining the investment, infrastructure and process is needed to move forward. This will include areas in mental health, treatments and therapies, and other aspects focused on improving quality of life for Canadians with food allergy. What steps would your government take to strengthen research into food allergy in this country?
All Canadians have a right to know what is in the food they consume. Food allergen labelling regulations do not extend to non-pre-packaged foods (e.g. restaurants, bulk foods) and precautionary allergen labelling in the form of “may contain” statements is not delivering against its intended purpose to advise consumers of potential risk. What is your party’s plan to improve allergen ingredient disclosure for pre- and non-pre-packaged foods so those with food allergy can make safe, informed choices?
The challenges Canadians affected by food allergy face can lead to enormous psychological, physical, and social consequences. According to a 2017-member survey almost half of respondents described their anxiety level as 8 out of 10 or higher. Food allergy is associated with symptoms of anxiety and depression, and one-in-three children with food allergy report being bullied, specifically because of their food allergy. Will your party commit to supporting a national awareness plan to better educate Canadians of the facts on food allergy and how they can support those with this medical condition, along with new funding for psycho-social interventions?
For any questions you may have on the National Food Allergy Action Plan, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1 866 785-5660.