MS Canada Meets with Federal Decision-Makers During Multi-Day Awareness Blitz on Parliament Hill

Toronto, ON [May 15, 2024] — More than 25 MS Canada representatives from across Canada were in Ottawa on Parliament Hill last week to meet with parliamentarians across all parties to raise awareness about the impact of MS on Canadians and the priorities for the MS community.

The multi-day advocacy blitz included over 60 meetings with parliamentarians, including the Minister of Health, Mark Holland, and the Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities, Kamal Khera. The meetings brought attention to five key priorities for the MS community, including a request to make MS research a priority with a $15 million investment from the federal government in partnership with MS Canada. 

Research investments are crucial to maintaining the momentum of recent discoveries in MS research. Dr. Pamela Valentine, President and CEO of MS Canada, sat down with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to talk about the progress in MS research and the opportunities presented in MS research moving toward MS prevention.

“Recent research advances are changing the way we think about MS,” says Dr. Valentine. “Where MS prevention was once a distant aspiration, today we see prevention as an attainable goal. To reach that goal, we need to maintain the momentum of these recent discoveries by investing in research here in Canada.”

The meetings also allowed MS Canada representatives to voice concerns about the Canada Disability Benefit (CDB), which was recently announced as part of the 2024 federal budget. According to the budget, the maximum annual benefit will be $2,400 a year, or $200 a month. The eligibility criteria is restricted to those who have qualified for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC). Members of Parliament (MPs) and Minister Khera heard the request by MS Canada to build on the initial investment of the CDB and enhance the annual and monthly amount eligible to recipients. MS Canada also advocated for expanding eligibility through the regulatory development process and for a full review of the Disability Tax Credit program.

“The parliamentarians we met with were receptive to our concerns about the current Canada Disability Benefit,” says Benjamin Davis, Senior Vice-President, Mission, MS Canada. “While we are encouraged by the meetings, we know there is more work to be done and MS Canada is committed to keep advocating for a more inclusive Canada Disability Benefit.”

Dr. Valentine was also invited to appear in front of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health to give an account of the urgency and need to support MS research in Canada. Her message highlighted the impact of MS, specifically on women in Canada, and the need for research focused on prevention.

On May 1, the start of MS Awareness Month, MS Canada handed out red carnations to MPs and Senators to wear with pride as a symbol of solidarity and support for the MS community.

MS Canada is asking all Canadians to #TakeActionForMS and reach out to their local MPs to reiterate the message of making MS Research a priority in federal funding. A digital email campaign is currently running through the MS Canada website here, where participants can sign their names to an email letter. 



About MS Canada

At MS Canada, we are inspired by the vision of a world free of multiple sclerosis. We focus on support, advocacy and research that will positively impact the lives of people living with, and affected by MS. For over 75 years, we have been a trusted connection for the MS community to valuable resources and programs needed on their unique MS journey. We advocate for improved policies and systems that will better support Canadians living with MS. We invest in life-changing research that will advance treatment and care, enhance well-being, help to understand and halt disease progression, and ultimately prevent MS.

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About multiple sclerosis (MS)

Canada has one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis (MS) in the world. On average, 12 Canadians are diagnosed every day. MS is a neurological disease of the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord). Most people are diagnosed with MS between the ages of 20 and 49. It is considered an episodic disability meaning that the severity and duration of episodes of illness and disability can vary, often followed by periods of wellness. It can also be progressive.