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Liberals need to wake up on fetal alcohol crisis

Toronto – Ontario’s Liberal government needs to get serious about addressing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), the Ontario Public Service Employees Union says.

“Premier Kathleen Wynne and her ministers need to snap out of their stupor and start taking FASD seriously,” OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said. “This is a province-wide epidemic that is costing every single citizen of this province, every day, yet the Liberals are too interested in selling more beer to even notice.”

Thomas said OPSEU “hasn’t heard a peep” out of the government since the union pointed out this week that grocery stores that sell beer are exempt from provincial rules requiring liquor sellers to post warning signs about FASD.

“Requiring grocery stores to post warning signs about FASD is the absolute least the Liberals could do, but they won’t even do that,” Thomas said. “FASD is costing the province upwards of a billion dollars a year – probably two billion – yet the FASD strategy Kathleen Wynne called for in 2014 is nowhere to be seen.

“FASD is extremely costly but 100 per cent preventable,” he said. “Any investment would repay us many times over.”

Thomas said OPSEU members working in children’s aid, developmental services, correctional services, and other areas deal with children and adults with FASD on a daily basis.

“A minimum of one per cent of Ontarians have FASD in some form, which is a number equal to the 130,000 members of OPSEU,” he said. “FASD is far more widespread than most people think, and we’re all paying the price.”

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder occurs as a result of mothers drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Children and adults with FASD may have behavioural problems, attention problems, intellectual and learning disabilities, speech and language delays, poor reasoning skills, and other difficulties.

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas 613-329-1931

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