The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Ontario Division, works with people who have MS to ensure they have the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of life. Volunteers across the province endeavour to change government policies, private industry practices and public attitudes in ways that will benefit people with MS.
The MS Society recognizes the challenging economic times that our provinces faces. Our key priority issues outlines the approaches where health care service and social assistance programs can be delivered through in an economical and compassionate way.
In Ontario 1 out of 5 people are informal caregivers. These caregivers contribute to more than 70 percent of caregiving needs that are not accounted for in the health care system. These invisible health partners take on additional costs associated with caregiving, may require an extended or frequent leave of absence from work, and often act as advocates for the person they are caring for.
The MS Society is a member of the Ontario Caregiver Coalition (OCC), which calls for greater recognition and caregiving support. The MS Society participated in consultations hosted by the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care on the future of caregiving in Ontario. The Society continues to work with coalition partners and the government to provide direction on improving workplace policies and creating greater income security for caregivers.
People living with MS and those with other disabilities have special need for utilities and other electrical devices to help manage their overall health and well-being. Currently, there is no policy or program in place to help ease the burden of on-peak costs of electricity use by those living with MS, and other chronic illnesses or disabilities. The increase in electricity prices - charging more for electricity use during peak hours - will unfairly single-out people living with MS and others who require devices powered by electricity.
Accessing MS care in northern communities can be challenging, with limited access to neurologists and specialized MS clinics, limited knowledge of MS among primary care physicians, and the need to travel long distances for diagnosis and treatment for MS. There are, however, practical solutions improve access to MS care in Ontario’s northern communities. Some recommendations include working with the government of Ontario, North West and North East Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and Community Care Access Centres (CCACs) to develop joint initiatives, creating a Community of Practice - a network of specialists on neurological conditions, and establishing an MS clinic in the north-east LHIN.
Supportive housing and age-appropriate long term care
Supportive/assisted living is provided through collective housing, with the addition of services such as meals, housekeeping, and round-the-clock personal care and health services. The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care funds 24-hour support care in a variety of settings although there are currently long waiting lists for relatively few spaces. While recent investments have been made to supportive housing, more needs to be done to help Ontarians with MS remain in their communities.
Although just a small minority of people younger than age 65 with MS require institutional care, it is vital for their quality of life that their housing and care are appropriate for their age. In the view of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, the appropriate solution is the availability of a continuum of appropriate housing and care.
Find out what the MS Society in Ontario is doing to move these issues forward.
Read the MS Society’s submission in preparation of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy.
Ontarians with multiple sclerosis who utilize the Trillium Drug Program and the Ontario Drug Benefit Program to access vital drug therapies cannot access some of the newer, more innovative therapies that alter the course of MS. When a new MS therapy is approved by Health Canada, the MS Society and its volunteers work to ensure that provincial governments reimburse these therapies under public drug programs.