Do you have questions about COVID-19?

NHCC member organizations have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by offering
expert information, programs and services for their clients and members. Please
scroll to the bottom of the page for direct links to each member organization.

2020 Change-Maker award winners

Chantale Boivin
Halina Haag
See more details about these extraordinary individuals

NHCC in the news: Survey led by volunteer alliance finds COVID-19 has long-term impact including brain health impairment

June 3, 2021 – A pan-Canadian survey of more than 1,000 COVID long-haulers, individuals with COVID-19 symptoms that last weeks or months, reveals the impact of Long COVID on brain health. From coast to coast, cognitive impairment or “brain fog” was among the top reported symptoms, along with fatigue and shortness of breath.

“The survey underlines earlier observations that COVID-19 can cause neurological damage which persists months after the initial infection. It clearly indicates that Canada needs action on brain health in COVID and post-COVID contexts,” said Neurological Health Charities Canada Manager Deanna Groetzinger.

See more details here. Pan-Canadian Survey Reveals Long-term Harm of COVID to Brain Health

See the full report here.

Budget 2021 delivers some support for charities, extends sickness benefits, increases research & innovation funds

On Monday, April 19, Chrystia Freeland delivered her first budget as Finance Minister, a massive document that provides for more COVID-19 relief for individuals and businesses and also tries to kickstart the economy post-pandemic. The following focuses on issues NHCC has been targeting or that impact member organizations: Charitable sector support, sickness benefit improvements, mental health supports, a disability eligibility consultation and research and innovation funding.

See details here.

NHCC urges study of COVID-19 and brain conditions

An important issue, but one that has been little examined or discussed, is the impact COVID-19 is having on Canadian who: 1. have a brain condition and live with unknown consequences of the virus on their existing brain condition; or 2.  have had COVID-19 and have not recovered, becoming so-called COVID “long haulers” with neurological and/or psychiatric damage.

NHCC is urging the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health examine this important issue. Learn more about NHCC recommendations here.

Surveys reveal COVID-19 has continued negative impact for people with brain conditions

In late April, June and November NHCC conducted surveys about the impact of COVID-19 on Canadians affected by brain conditions and on the organizations that serve them. Not surprisingly, the pandemic continues to have a major negative impact on both individuals and organizations.

While access to physicians and hospitals is improving, access to services in communities is still a problem (rehab services, social workers, psychological support). Virtual healthcare has helped, but it is difficult to navigate for many people who have brain conditions.

Brain health organizations report their revenues are down resulting in cuts to services at a time when people are turning to them for support. They also report they have had to reduce or cut funding for research. Staff layoffs are wide spread as well.

See here for more details of the November survey results and here for the earlier April/June surveys.

Canadians urgently need action on brain health

Brain conditions – brain illnesses, disorders and injuries – are one of the leading causes of disability in Canada and, indeed, worldwide. One in three
Canadians (10 million) will have a brain condition in their lifetime – whether from birth, early childhood, young adulthood, middle age or as seniors.

NHCC urges the Government of Canada to follow up on its significant initial investment in brain health research and commit resources to ensure Canada takes immediate action on brain health by:

  • Recommendation #1: Funding basic, clinical and population health research to examine how COVID-19 impacts the central and peripheral nervous systems and the implications for individuals living with brain conditions;
  • Recommendation #2: Working with NHCC to test an expanded chronic care model for neurological conditions that integrates health and support care services to deliver better and more coordinated care;
  • Recommendation #3: Funding charities and non-profit organizations, including charities serving Canadians affected by brain conditions so they can continue their vital role in providing crucial programs and filling gaps in health care services.

See more details here.

NHCC supports Canadian Brain Research Strategy

Brain health research is critical in understanding the brain, one of the greatest and most urgent scientific challenges of our time. One out of three Canadians will be affected by a brain or nervous system illness, disorder or injury in their lifetime. They need better diagnoses, prevention and effective treatments. The Canadian Brain Research Strategy (CBRS) – developed by Canadian neuroscience leaders – can be an integral part of NHCC’s vision of an overall Canadian Brain Council  to spur unprecedented collaboration in research and healthcare service delivery. See more information about the Canadian Brain Research Strategy and how you can have input into the Strategy here.  See latest CBRS presentation here

NHCC celebrates Royal Assent of Accessible Canada Act

Brain conditions are the largest cause of disability worldwide with one in three Canadians affected by a brain or nervous system illness, disorder or injury, including mental health conditions, within their lifetimes. NHCC celebrates the Royal Assent of the Accessible Canada Act (June 21, 2019) and congratulates all of those who helped make the legislation a reality.  See more details about the Act at: Making an accessible Canada for persons with disabilities

In our recommendations for changes to the proposed federal Accessibility Act, NHCC stressed the importance of  flexibility to ensure benefit for people living with brain conditions.  See NHCC recommendations and full submission here.

Canada needs an Action Plan for Brain Health now

NHCC urges the Government of Canada to immediately commit to developing a Canadian Action Plan for Brain Health to improve the lives of millions of Canadians living with brain conditions and their families. The ground-breaking National Population Health Study of Neurological Conditions clearly identified what it means to live with a brain condition in Canada right now. Learn how a brain condition is affecting one individual right now: Meagan’s Story

Quick facts from the Study

  • Unemployment among Canadians living with brain conditions is 12 times higher
    than the general population.
  • Canadians living with brain conditions use more health care services than
    those without a neurological condition or even those with other chronic
  • Half of all recipients of home care or in long-term care facilities have a
    brain condition.
  • Forty percent of children with brain conditions have limited educational
  • Caregivers are essential to the well being of people living with brain
    conditions but caregivers often develop their own health problems including
    high levels of stress.
  • Without appropriate interventions, health care costs will increase
    significantly as will the overall impact on the Canadian economy.
  • By 2031, the number of Canadians with brain conditions will increase, and
    the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias,
    Parkinson’s disease and traumatic brain injury is expected to double.

An Action Plan is needed now

The burden of brain conditions will only increase unless we take action now. See more details on the
National Population Health Study page and in the Study report:
Mapping Connections: An Understanding of Neurological Conditions in Canada