Earlier today, Health Canada published the details for the changes to the Thalidomide Support Program that was previously announced in January.

Even though the government made this announcement a few months ago, it takes time to formally make the changes and finalize the details which are made by the Cabinet by an “Order-in-Council”.  This has now been completed, and you can access the formal “Order-in-Council” by clicking here:

For existing survivors, there are three things to highlight:

  1. Existing survivors currently supported under the existing program will automaticallybe transitioned to the new program. Existing support provided to survivors will continue unaffected.  You do not need to do anything.
  1. All recognized survivors will receive an additional $125,000 lump sum, tax free payment to match the original lump sum payment survivors received back in 2015 (for a total of $250,000). This was part of the Thalidomide Survivors Taskforce proposal back in 2014 (i.e. Mercedes, Stephen, Joe, Natalie and Chris).  Newly recognized survivors will also receive the same total amount going.
  1. The government is increasing the EMAF from $500,000 per year to $1,000,000 per year to address the concerns raised by the Thalidomide Survivors Taskforce to the Minister and Health Canada officials.

As well, the government has moved forward with important changes on how potential survivors of Thalidomide will be assessed in the future.  This is an issue that the Taskforce raised since 2014, and has been the subject of ongoing discussions with Health Canada.  The third-party administrator will be responsible for this new assessment process, and additional information is contained in the links above.

These are important and positive improvements to the program.