A world free of multiple sclerosis.
To connect and empower the MS community
to create positive change.
raised (*combined Society & Foundation)
$927398 in funding
56837 meaningful connections
The importance of connection took on a new meaning in 2020 when we were suddenly required to stay apart.
We took this opportunity to find meaningful and creative ways to connect and unite the MS community across Canada. We were able to shift our events, programs and services online and for the first time ever, bring people together from across the country for virtual MS Walk, MS Bike, MS Connect and Savour.
Having access to a variety of effective treatment and care options for symptom management, wellness and self-care will help people on their unique MS journey.
We support a broad portfolio of research that leads to better understanding and new and more effective treatments, we advocate for access to medicine, and provide programs and services that support those living with MS to live their fullest lives.
Knowledge on how COVID-19 affects people with MS is being captured in a global data-sharing initiative called COViMS (COVID-19 Infections in MS & Related Diseases), which is a joint effort by the Consortium of MS Centers, National MS Society USA, and MS Society of Canada.
This unparalleled collaboration with clinician-reported data being received from 18 countries, including Canada, seeks to understand the risks of COVID-19 in people with MS and whether disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) affect COVID-19 disease course or outcomes. Thanks to robust participation, this ongoing data collection demonstrates the game-changing benefits of aligning MS patient information on a global scale.
People living with MS are looking for peace of mind on the safety and effectiveness of two of the COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
Together with partner organizations, we convened a group of international expert researchers and medical professionals to review the available science and provide fact-based guidance.
The Canadian MS Working Group released an updated list of 16 recommendations on the optimal use of DMTs to provide guidance on starting, monitoring, and switching therapies to ensure that people are receiving the most optimum treatment. This information will help bring consistency to the treatment of MS across the country.
A pan-north American group led by researchers in Canada are identifying the Best Evidence-Based Strategies and Treatment/Therapies for Rehabilitation (MSBEST) to help healthcare professionals select evidence-based rehabilitation strategies for persons with MS.
Many Canadians living with MS cannot get sufficient, equitable or affordable access to DMTs as they face regulatory, administrative, and financial barriers, according to a Conference Board of Canada report supported by the MS Society.
The research found that improving access will benefit not only people living with MS, but also the healthcare systems across the country and the economy.
invested in 15 research grants
to advance treatment and care
supported through our
with TIME™ and NeuroSask to
offer online rehabilitation and
We help remove physical and social barriers within communities to ensure access to opportunities and supports for people affected by MS.
Increasing Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits from 15 weeks to at least 26 weeks of benefits by partnering with the Canadian Cancer Society and Canadian Labour Congress to share with policy decision-makers the findings of the Employment Insurance Sickness Benefit Policy 2019 Multi-Stakeholder roundtable report
Extending the length of compassionate care leave beyond the death of a loved one by up to three weeks by working with MP Matt Jeneroux, sponsor of the Private Members' Bill – C-220
invested in 1 research grant to advance well-being
Individuals accessed $628,313 in Quality of Life grants
for income support applications resulting in $1,380 - $1,685 a month in direct financial aid
Canadians wrote to their Member of Parliament in our fall #TakeActionForMS digital advocacy campaign.
in one-time funding from the federal government in recognition of extraordinary expenses faced by people with disabilities during the pandemic.
Understanding the complexities of MS progression will help effectively stop MS in its tracks.
We continue to invest in research and support world-wide efforts to better understand how and why MS progresses.
As a founding partner and executive member of the International Progressive MS Alliance (Alliance), we're helping drive the research agenda in progressive MS with this global collaboration of MS organizations, researchers, healthcare professionals, pharmaceutical companies, trusts, foundations, donors, and people affected by MS. By working collectively across many disciplines, the Alliance can accelerate research in ways not possible by one country alone.
In 2020, an expert panel, convened by the Alliance, made recommendations on a biomarker known as neurofilament light (Nfl), an important component of nerve cells. Recent clinical trials have demonstrated that NfL levels are able to predict relapse rates, brain tissue loss, disability progression, and can be used to measure treatment response in both relapsing and progressive forms of MS. The panel proposed additional research and asked for drug regulators to recognize Nfl in order to begin clinical trials for new therapies.
In 2020, 60 per cent of the MS Society's research portfolio targeted new ways to understand and halt disease progression. Here are a few examples of this incredible body of work:
Research by a team at the University of Manitoba is investigating a protein called Neuregulin-1 beta 1 (Nrg-1β1), which is found in the body's neural cells. In earlier studies with mice, they discovered lower levels of the protein in those with MS and it continued to decrease as their symptoms worsened. This new work could help make it possible to detect MS much earlier, while also finding out if giving Nrg-1β1, which is already an approved drug in the U.S., would be an effective therapy to delay and potentially halt disease progression.
The results of a phase 2 clinic trial of Bexarotene, a drug developed to treat cancer, confirmed it can repair myelin in people with relapsing MS, but the drug's side effects were too severe for clinical use. This trial provided a promising and important step forward in effectively assessing the efficacy of similar types of repair-focused therapeutics.
Canadian and U.S. researchers have discovered that restricting dietary intake of methionine, an amino acid found in meat, fish, dairy products, and other foods, can slow disease onset and progression in mice with MS-like disease. If proven effective in humans, this type of dietary intervention could represent a cost-effective and low-risk measure to prevent and control MS.
invested in 32 research grants to understand and halt disease progression
participants recruited to the Canadian Prospective Cohort Study to Understand Progression in Multiple Sclerosis (CanProCo)
Stopping MS before it starts will reduce the number of people who develop the disease.
We continue to invest in research that examines the factors that could lead to MS and how people might shape their lives to reduce their risk of getting the disease.
There is growing evidence that a prodromal phase in MS – early non-specific signs and symptoms – may occur 5-10 years or more before clinical recognition of MS.
Understanding the MS prodrome will help discover ways to stop the disease before onset of typical clinical symptoms of MS. This year we invested in a research study lead by Dr. Helen Tremlett to investigate the MS prodromal period. The study focuses on better understanding the risk factors leading to the development of MS, in addition to identifying the earliest signs of MS.
invested in 5 research grant to prevent MS
(58%) funded life-saving research, programs and advocacy
(36%) invested in community fundraising activities
(9%) went towards
(*combined Society & Foundation)
Thank you for helping us confront COVID-19 head-on and safeguard our important mission. Together, we are connecting and empowering the MS community to create positive change.