03 January 2023
By Helen Crawford
In 2021, the Canadian Psoriasis Network (CPN), the Canadian Association of Psoriasis Patients (CAPP) and Unmasking Psoriasis implemented the first phase of a three-year campaign focused on psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (psoriatic disease) in the workplace.
Phase 1, which launched on World Psoriasis Day (WPD) (October 29, 2021), focused on employees with psoriatic disease. Building on our collaboration in 2020 to improve access to care and treatment, Phase 1 of this campaign explored the psoriatic disease community’s experiences in the workforce to understand their needs and priorities with regard to workplace policies around accommodations, access to private and public health benefits, including drugs, and the impact of these diseases on individuals’ work experience. Outcomes from Phase 1 included a report on what we heard from patients through a survey, as well as tools for patients and caregivers, employers, and healthcare providers. These outcomes created the foundation for Phases 2 and 3 of this campaign.
The goals of Phase 2 were to build on the key learnings from Phase 1 and focus on federal-level public policies related to employment, income security, and disability, and how effectively they are meeting the needs of people with psoriatic disease. As with Phase 1, special attention was paid to public policies around accommodations in the workplace; access to public health benefits, including drugs and supportive services (e.g., mental health supports); and the impact of these policies on individuals’ work experience.
The Working it Out campaign is featured on the websites of all three partner organizations – CPN, CAPP and Unmasking Psoriasis in English and French and a bilingual microsite was launched as a landing page for the campaign (www.workingitout.ca).
The key components of Phase 2 included:
White paper and environmental scan
Financial security and employment are important to people living with psoriatic disease in Canada. Our Working it Out report was a first step for understanding the workplace experiences of people living with psoriatic disease. The report highlighted that more than half of survey participants indicated that psoriatic disease impacted them at work.
Our next step was to understand the public policy context affecting people in Canada with psoriatic disease when it comes to employment support, income security, and disability policy. We developed an Environmental Scan of Income Support and Employment Policy in Canada in order to understand the current state of financial security measures and workforce support available to our community and to find inspiration from international jurisdictions. Building on the Environmental Scan, we developed a White Paper that outlines key policy and administrative changes to meet the needs of our community with a focus on the following areas:
provide financial security though income support programs, sickness benefits, and employment insurance programs
reimburse additional costs such as prescription drugs and equipment
support workforce participation such as job search, workplace accommodation, and retraining
support employers in hiring and employment
To help people navigate the various federal-level programs that were outlined in the Environmental Scan and White Paper, a Mapping tool of programs and policies related to employment and disability that affect people with psoriatic disease was developed.
Though we compiled a list of resources and programs that may be available to people currently based on comprehensive research, this resource is not an exhaustive list of relevant programs available to people with disabilities and psoriatic disease in Canada. Links are provided throughout the tool for people to get more information about each program and resource, including details about eligibility and other criteria.
Government awareness campaign
To help build awareness about the needs and experiences of people with psoriatic disease and to advance priorities to improve public policies, CPN, CAPP, and Unmasking Psoriasis attended meetings with Members of Parliament and other federal-government representatives and policy makers in the week leading up to World Psoriasis Day (October 29th) to share findings and recommendations from the Environmental Scan and White Paper. We met with 16 decision makers.
We were encouraged by several people that we met with to make a joint submission to HUMA (the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities) as part of their review of Bill C-22, An Act to reduce poverty and to support the financial security of persons with disabilities by establishing the Canada disability benefit and making a consequential amendment to the Income Tax Act.
· To date (October 24 to December 8, 2022), the overall website traffic to www.workingitout.ca and www.untravaildaccommodement.ca included over 1,124 sessions and 3,077 page views. We had an event count of 9,052, which includes page view, user engagement, clicks, downloads etc.
Social media campaign (from October 24th to December 8th):
· 157 posts in both official languages
· 400% increase in reach from 2021, for a total reach of 210K
· The hashtag #WorkingItOut2022 has a reach of 210K to date (as of December 8th)
· Promoted in newsletters by both CPN and CAPP reaching an additional audience of 6,733
This project was funded by multiple stakeholders; Pfizer, Abbvie, Novartis, Amgen, Baush, Bristol Myers Squibb, Janssen, Boehringer Ingelheim and Leo. We are grateful to all of them for their support of this project.
For WPD 2023, CAPP, CPN and Unmasking Psoriasis will be planning Phase 3 of this campaign which will focus on private payers and employers.
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