Petition E 2035 FAQ

What is this petition for/about?

We, the undersigned, the citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to recognize physical fitness as a form of treatment for physical injury and mental health issues. We request that physical fitness through a gym membership, personal training, and physiotherapy be made available through funding and specific programming to individuals suffering mental illness or chronic, life-altering disease or illness.

Who has brought this petition forward?

This petition was Initiated by Tara Leitch from Hagersville, Ontario, on February 5, 2019, at 1:44 p.m. It was carried forward by Diane Finley, MP for Haldimand-Norfolk in Ontario, Canada. 

Now Tara is in Partnership with Fitness for Mental Health. Working together to bring the goals of the petition to reality.

Where is this petition specific to?

This is a National Petition. All Canadians, should they wish, may sign and support this initiative.

Is there a deadline?

Yes. At least 500 signatures must be obtained by May 6th, 2019 at 1:44pm in order for it to be presented to parliament. Our goal is 10,000 signatures.

How will this help people?

It has been proven by a number of studies that physical fitness can help people suffering from Mental Illness and/or Chronic Disease. It can reduce some symptoms, improve overall health, bring focus and in some cases reduce the need for prescribed medications. 

Why tax our healthcare system more?

If doctors can prescribe physical fitness to their patients, the need for some prescribed drugs could diminish, if not disappear. Physical fitness has been shown to not only help decrease the risk of the development of some chronic diseases but also in the management of people who have existing conditions. Mental illnesses, diabetes, heart disease, fibromyalgia and even some types of cancer have been shown to improve with the addition of physical fitness.

"Exercise is well known to stimulate the body to produce endorphins and enkephalins, the body’s natural feel-good hormones which can make problems seem more manageable. The simple act of focusing on exercise can give us a break from current concerns and damaging self-talk. Further, depending on the activity, people may benefit from calming exercises, be energized, and get outside or interact with others, all of which are known to improve mood and general health." 

"On the treatment side, exercise appears to be as good as existing pharmacological interventions across a range of conditions, such as mild to moderate depression, dementia, and anxiety, and even reduces cognitive issues in schizophrenia." --

"Health experts regularly claim that exercise is one of the top things you can do to lower your risk of developing one of these chronic problems in the first place, but it’s also important to know that exercise can play a role in managing problems and symptoms you may already be experiencing, says Bradley Prigge, a wellness exercise specialist at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program.

“If you look at a range of things like high blood pressurehigh cholesterol levels, persisting pain, and inflammation — all of these things that are risk factors and symptoms of various chronic conditions — across the board, there is a huge value that comes from increasing fitness and your level of physical activity in your life,” Prigge says.

For instance, aerobic exercise can help prevent heart disease, but if you do develop markers of heart problems — such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure — moderate intensity activity can help stop those problems from causing more serious ones (such as heart attack or stroke).

Strength training builds muscle and promotes healthy joints, preserving mobility and function in healthy individuals as they age. But this type of exercise also helps decrease arthritis pain and can improve glucose control in people with type 2 diabetes. Simple flexibility exercises can help improve a range of joint motions, reducing risk for potential falls for everyone. (3) And for people with arthritis, stretching eases joint pain and prevents it from getting worse. (4)"

Will any Personal Trainer, Fitness Program or Gym be ok to use?

No. Our hope and goal is that there will be a process whereby doctors and patients will assess the patients eligibility for the program/funding with the help of Fitness for Mental Health. Fitness for Mental Health will help locate a trained and professional Personal Trainer or program offered by one of these trainers, so they may begin their treatment plan.

Since 2016, Fitness for Mental Health has trained over 25 fitness professionals during their educational pilot phase. Through a partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association, FMH provides education on how to support clients when they are experiencing a mental illness.

The course teaches participants basic communication skills surrounding empathy and listening and discusses how to create a safe space for clients, while sharing stories through real-life conversations. The course will include information on how to improve personal mental well being, as individuals and within our community.