Government of Canada announces funding to help create awareness around Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Project will help reduce stigma associated with FASD in Quebec
August 29, 2019 Ottawa, Ontario Public Health Agency of Canada
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is the leading known cause of preventable developmental disability in Canada. It affects the brain and body of people prenatally exposed to alcohol. People living with FASD can face life-long mental, physical, behavioural and learning disabilities. They also can experience some degree of challenge related to motor skills, physical health, learning, memory, attention, emotional regulation and social skills. Recognizing that FASD is a serious public health issue, the Government of Canada is committed to providing support to Canadians to address and prevent this disorder.
Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, announced nearly $1 million in funding over four years to support the Association pour la santé publique du Québec (ASPQ) project FASD: Talking about it to better act (website available in French only).
In an effort to help address stigma associated with FASD throughout the province of Quebec, ASPQ will develop and implement a bilingual awareness campaign to share messaging on FASD prevention and the risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. To help inform the campaign, ASPQ will use literature reviews and population surveys to identify the province’s current knowledge and understanding of FASD and related stigma, social pressures, alcohol consumption by women, and marketing strategies that the alcohol industry uses to target women.
This project is funded under the Government of Canada’s FASD National Strategic Projects Fund, which allocates $1.5 million annually to organizations that develop knowledge, evidence, tools and resources that address FASD in Canada.
“Creating awareness about FASD is important to help prevent and reduce stigma associated with the disorder. The Association pour la santé publique du Québec’s project is a key component in addressing FASD and raising awareness in the province of the risks of consuming alcohol during pregnancy. By supporting projects like these, we can help increase knowledge of FASD and, in turn, reduce the prevalence of FASD in Canada.”
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
There is no known safe amount of alcohol to consume during pregnancy. Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines recommend that if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, the safest choice is to drink no alcohol at all.
While the exact prevalence of FASD in Canada is unknown, a prevalence study undertaken by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health among elementary school students (7 to 9 years of age) in the Greater Toronto Area estimated a prevalence of 2 to 3%.
In October 2018, the Chief Public Health Officer’s Report on the State of Public Health in Canada 2018: Preventing Problematic Substance Use in Youth was released. This report offers a snapshot of the health of Canadians, and examines research on the prevention of problematic substance use among youth, including the issue of alcohol consumption during pregnancy
Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
Public Health Agency of Canada
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