Canadian Thalidomide Survivors Support Program

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Applicants to the CTSSP:The Honourable Justice Pamel issued a judgement on April 29, 2024 removing date of birth as one of the eligibility criteria. The Attorney General of Canada now has 30 days to appeal that decision, should they choose. In the meantime, individuals who may be affected by this decision may submit an application or a Request for Reconsideration to the CTSSP postmarked by the application deadline of June 3, 2024.

 

The CTSSP Assessment Application Process

 

Any living individual who believes that they are a Thalidomide Survivor, including those previously denied under the 1991 EAP or the 2015 TSCP, must submit a Step 1 - Preliminary Screening Application for assessment to the Administrator prior to the application deadline of June 3, 2024, must proceed through the steps below and be found eligible at Step 3 to receive financial support under the Canadian Thalidomide Survivors Support Program (“CTSSP”).

 

Step 1 Preliminary Screening Application SubmissionStep 2 : Probability Assessment Application  SubmissionStep 3: Multi-Disciplinary Committee Review

 

 

Please note for those applications still in progress at any stage of the CTSSP application process at the time of the Application Deadline will have one year post the deadline to complete the application process, after which time the application review process will end.

 

Step 1: Preliminary Screening:

 

At Step 1, you must submit a Step 1 - Preliminary Screening Application postmarked by June 3, 2024. Please click here to view and download the form or you may obtain a Step 1 application form by contacting the Administrator.

 

Following the Honourable Justice Pamel’s judgement, the following criteria from the Order in Council must be met to be eligible under the CTSSP at Step 1:

 

  1. The person must have been born in Canada;
  2. The person’s date of birth or any other information available is consistent with maternal ingestion of thalidomide in the first trimester of pregnancy, and;
  3. The nature of the person’s congenital malformations must be consistent with known characteristics of congenital malformations linked to Thalidomide.

 

The CTSSP will take into consideration individuals whose mothers may have accessed Thalidomide prior to its authorized use in Canada. The earliest global market availability in West Germany was October 1, 1957. Thalidomide was withdrawn from the Canadian Market (March 2, 1962).

 

Please take your time when completing the Step 1-Preliminary Screening application and answer each question fully and accurately. Incomplete responses will result in processing delays.

 

The Administrator will review your completed Step 1 - Preliminary Screening Application and determine if you are eligible to move to the next step in the CTSSP application process. You will be notified in writing once a decision has been made. Individuals who meet the Step 1 eligibility requirements above will advance to Step 2 of the CTSSP application process. See Step 2 below.

 

Anyone who the Administrator determines does not meet one or more of the Step 1 criteria above may request that their application be reconsidered at any point prior to the Application deadline of postmarked by June 3, 2024. Individuals must provide new information that was not previously submitted for the person’s Step 1 – Preliminary Screening Application to be reconsidered.  All applicants to the CTSSP must meet all three criteria at Step 1 of the CTSSP Order in Council to advance to Step 2 of the CTSSP application process.

 

If you submitted your Step 1 application prior to June 3, 2024, but have not yet received a decision regarding the same; you will have additional time post the deadline to request reconsideration if you are found not eligible to advance to Step 2.

 

To request reconsideration, you may download the form from the Forms page of this website or by contacting the Administrator.

 

Step 2: Probability Assessment:

 

At Step 2, you must complete and submit a Step 2 – Probability Assessment application postmarked by June 3, 2024. Please note that individuals who submitted a Step 1 application and are awaiting their decision, will have additional time to submit their Step 2 application after the application deadline.

 

Step 2 applications are only available to applicants that were deemed eligible at Step 1 and are automatically sent by the Administrator.

 

The application form must be completed with the assistance of your physician as the application requires detailed and accurate medical responses to specific questions about your Thalidomide related injuries. All applications must be accompanied by supporting medical documentation that should include, but not be limited to:

 

  • X-rays and photographs of your injuries taken from various angles including front, back, left side and right side along with close ups as feasible. If your injury relates to only one side of your body, please also take x-rays and photographs of the non-injured side for comparison purposes. For example, if you have an injured left arm with two absent fingers, please take x-rays and photographs starting from the top of your shoulder down to the tip of your fingers for both arms along with close ups of the hand.

 

Once the completed application is received by the Administrator, it will be reviewed carefully for completeness. If a section of the application is not completed or supporting documents are missing, the Administrator will contact you in writing.

 

After your application is determined to be complete, qualified medical staff will utilize the information you provided to answer a pre-determined set of questions in a diagnostic algorithm for Thalidomide Embryopathy called valiDATE. The algorithm will harness the best available international science in understanding patterns of Thalidomide embryopathy. The algorithm will yield a probability-based result on a three-point scale of the likelihood that your injuries are the result of maternal ingestion of Thalidomide in the first trimester of pregnancy. It is not a definitive medical test, but a probability assessment.

 

The term “probable” is the highest point on a three-point scale of the algorithm which ranges from “unlikely” to “probable” that your injuries are the result of maternal ingestion of Thalidomide in the first trimester of pregnancy.

 

Individuals with a probability result suggesting one’s injuries are the result of maternal ingestion of Thalidomide in the first trimester will automatically advance to Step 3 – Medical-Legal Panel Review of the CTSSP eligibility assessment process, namely the Multi-Disciplinary Committee of medical and legal experts (“Committee”) review. Please see Step 3 below.

 

Individuals with a probability result of “unlikely” or “uncertain” will be given four (4) options and must communicate their choice to the Administrator by completing a Selection Form. The form is automatically sent by the Administrator and if needed additional copies can be obtained by contacting the Administrator. The form offers the following options:

 

  1. YES. Please send my CTSSP application to the Multi-Disciplinary Committee of medical and legal experts (“Committee”) for review of the CTSSP eligibility assessment process. I understand and acknowledge that the Administrator may request additional information from me before my application will be sent to the Committee for review.
  2. UNDECIDED. I am undecided and do not wish to make a choice right now. I understand and acknowledge that no further action will be taken by the Administrator in regard to my CTSSP application until such time that I submit a new Selection Form to the Administrator postmarked by June 3, 2024. Applicants who submitted their Step 2 application prior to the June 3rd, 2024 application deadline and have yet to receive a decision regarding the same, will have additional time to submit their selection form post the application deadline.
  3. NO. I choose not to have the Multi-Disciplinary Committee of medical and legal experts (“Committee”) review my CTSSP application. I understand and acknowledge that no further action will be taken by the Administrator in regard to my CTSSP Application. I further understand that I may change my choice by submitting a new Selection Form to the Administrator postmarked by June 3, 2024 (if the Applicant does not already have a file in process with the Administrator that is pending a decision).
  4. RECONSIDERATION. I choose to request reconsideration at Step 2 at this time instead. I understand and acknowledge that I must complete and submit a Reconsideration Form to the Administrator postmarked by June 3, 2024, to request reconsideration. Reconsideration forms are available by contacting the Administrator. I further understand that I may change my choice by submitting a new Selection Form to the Administrator postmarked by June 3, 2024 (if the Applicant does not already have a file in process with the Administrator that is pending a decision).

 

 

Step 3: Medical-Legal Panel Review:

 

At Step 3, the Administrator will provide the health practitioner that you designated in your Step 2 application form with a copy of the valiDATE report from Step 2 and a Step 3 – Attestation Statement form that we ask them to complete. This form is only available by contacting the Administrator.

 

The purpose of this form is to verify that the birth differences identified in the valiDATE report are an accurate assessment of all your known Thalidomide-related birth differences/conditions before your file is sent to the multi-disciplinary committee (“Committee”) for review.

 

Once the Attestation is returned, the Administrator will verify that your file contains all of the necessary information that the Committee needs to complete its review. If additional information is required, the Administrator will contact you. Otherwise, once deemed complete, your file will be compiled and provided to the Committee who will carefully consider the totality of the information in your application and any other evidence the Committee considers relevant to make its recommendation to the Administrator regarding your eligibility for support under the CTSSP. They may also requisition additional tests including, but not limited to, genetic tests or other exams to aid them in their review.

 

The Committee is comprised of five (5) members:

  • Christine Kark, Attorney in the field of Health Law
  • Marjan Nezarati, Medical Geneticist
  • Ian Pitfield, retired trial judge
  • Prof Lavinia Schuler-Faccini, Medical Geneticist
  • Prof Neil Vargesson FRSE, FRSB, Chair in Developmental Biology

 

Any changes to the composition of the Committee will be posted here.

 

Please note: any inquiries about the CTSSP application process or program, should be addressed to the CTSSP Administrator and not to the individual Committee Members.

 

As the review at Step 3 is quite complex, it may take six to eight months before you receive your determination in writing; however, once the Administrator receives the Committee’s recommendation, the Administrator will review and consider the recommendation as promptly as possible and then send you the Administrator’s determination in writing.

 

Those that are found eligible to receive benefits under the CTSSP will have access to a one-time, immediate, tax-free, lump sum payment of $250,000, a tax-free annual ongoing support payment, and access to the Extraordinary Medical Assistance Fund upon completion of a Proof of Identification Form, which the Administrator will send.

 

Those that are found ineligible, will be able to submit questions to the Administrator about the determination received and/or request reconsideration in writing or by an informal oral hearing. Further information about the reconsideration process may be found in the Reconsideration Protocol which is available for download from the Documents page of this website or by request by contacting the Administrator.

 

The CTSSP Application period will be open for a five year period beginning June 3, 2019 and ending June 3, 2024.

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