Press release – May 22, 2015

Official Statement from the Thalidomide Survivors Taskforce concerning Health Canada’s Program to Assist the Canada’s 94 Living Victims of Thalidomide

TORONTO, May 22, 2015 /CNW/ – The Taskforce representing Canada’s living victims of Thalidomide are very appreciative of all the hard work that the Minister and Health Canada have put into this program over the past six months. This program recognizes the needs of the thalidomide survivors, and more than 70% of them will receive at least $75,000 a year, tax free, with annual adjustments for inflation.

Certain of the thalidomide survivors will be eligible for annual payments of $100,000 based on the severity of their disability, tax free, with inflation adjustments.

As the Taskforce had advocated, the government has accepted a disability-based program and are pleased that it will be administratively streamlined so that it will be simple and designed with minimum burden on the survivors.

The Taskforce also understand that the program will include a reassessment to ensure its adequacy of the long-term needs of the thalidomide survivors.

When we began our campaign over two years ago, thalidomide was a distant memory for many Canadians. But it has been an ongoing nightmare for over 50 years for the remaining 94 survivors. Although we are continuing to study the program and obtain clarity from the government, we believe that this funding will make a profound difference in the lives of survivors and provide them with meaningful support for the rest of their lives.

The Thalidomide Survivors Taskforce would like to thank Canadians and MPs on all sides for their support.

In particular, we would like to thank Libby Davies and Murray Rankin of the NDP for their tireless championing of our cause, as well as Dr. Carolyn Bennett from the Liberals. We would also like to thank Minister Ambrose and the staff at Health Canada, who have worked hard to right the wrong.

SOURCE Thalidomide Victims Association of Canada

For further information: Christopher Holz, Campbell Strategies,, 416 459 8439