The Canadian Thalidomide Survivors Support Program (CTSSP)
In Budget 2018, the Government of Canada recognized that some thalidomide survivors may have been excluded from the Thalidomide Survivors Contribution Program (TSCP) and committed to addressing this concern. The new Canadian Thalidomide Survivors Support Program (CTSSP) provides a fair and compassionate approach that will help eligible survivors access the care they need for the remainder of their lives.
Application and Assessment Process
As established by an Order In Council, the CTSSP will use a three step probability-based medical assessment process. Applicants must meet the requirements established at each step to move onto the next. The steps are:
- Preliminary Screening:
(i) The individual’s date of birth in Canada falls within the period of December 3, 1957, to December 21, 1967, inclusive;
(ii) The person's date of birth or any other available information is consistent with maternal ingestion of thalidomide in the first trimester of pregnancy; and
(iii) The nature of the person's congenital malformations is consistent with known characteristics of congenital malformations linked to thalidomide.
- Application of a diagnostic algorithm for thalidomide embryopathy:
An algorithm that harnesses the best available international science in understanding the patterns of thalidomide embryopathy will analyze the individual’s information. It will yield a probability-based result and is not a definitive medical test.
- Recommendation by medical-legal committee:
A medical-legal committee, established by the third-party administrator of the program, will consider the full application and any other evidence that it considers relevant. This may include genetic test results and medical exams to inform its recommendation to the third-party administrator that an individual is eligible for support under the Program.
Survivors already supported by the TSCP will automatically be transferred to the CTSSP and will continue to receive their benefits. Individuals who are listed on a Canadian government registry for thalidomide victims but did not receive support under the previous programs should contact the third-party administrator.
The application period will be open for a period of five years to give individuals ample time to learn about the new program and apply for support.
Ongoing and Ex-gratia Payments
The CTSSP will provide survivors with ongoing tax-free payments of up to $100,000 annually (indexed to 2%) based on the level of disability and access to the Extraordinary Medical Assistance Fund (EMAF), which helps pay for specialized surgeries and home and vehicle adaptations not covered by provincial or territorial health care plans.
Survivors confirmed under the CTSSP will also receive an immediate ex-gratia payment of $250,000, while survivors confirmed under the TSCP will receive an ex gratia payment of $125,000 in summer 2019 to equalize the ex-gratia payments to survivors under the two programs.
For information on support for Canadian thalidomide survivors, please contact the third-party administrator, Crawford:
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