For immediate release
Do you know your rights?
1% of the population of Ontario has epilepsy. We are aware that people with epilepsy continue to be discriminated against and are forced into social isolation. We have chosen lavender as a flower and colour since the lavender flower is traditionally associated with solitude, symbolizing the feelings of isolation and seclusion that people living with epilepsy and seizure disorders often experience.
The focus of this year’s Awareness Campaign is to inform people living epilepsy and their families, friends and society in general of the importance of treating people with epilepsy fairly.
The Human Rights Code and Epilepsy
Discrimination “because of disability” is prohibited in all areas protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code. The Code defines disability as: any degree of disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness. Some examples of physical disabilities are listed in the Code, epilepsy being among these listed. Therefore, a person who has epilepsy is protected by law from all types of discrimination.
The Code states that the rights of a disabled person are not infringed upon if the right is denied because the person is incapable of fulfilling essential duties or requirements because of the disability. For example, a person who has epilepsy may be denied a job if their disability makes them incapable of performing the essential duties of the job.
Epilepsy Ontario has spent the better part of the last 51 years ensuring that people with epilepsy have a voice. For Epilepsy Ontario, advocacy is the act of pleading for or defending another person, empowering vulnerable people and promotes respect for their dignity, rights and freedoms.
Like others who have disabilities, people with epilepsy often face barriers to their basic human rights and freedoms. Employment, transportation, education, subsidized medication, insurance, driving issues, abuse, housing and isolation are just some of the many issues faced by people who have epilepsy. Through advocacy, changes can take place at the governmental, legal, social, economic and institutional levels.
Some of the day-to-day barriers that people with epilepsy face include issues relating to education, housing, transportation, subsidized and/or cost of medications, insurance, employment, and isolation. Gender, race and age further complicate these issues. Even where a person lives can be a barrier