Canadian Treatments and Non-Canadian Residents
Frequently Asked Questions about Canada and Canadian Treatments
I am a permanent resident of Canada or a Canadian Permanent Resident and want to help a relative overseas who is living with MS. What can I do?
There may be an MS Society in the country where your relative lives. Please visit the MS International Federation for a listing of MS Societies around the world. Depending on the language(s) spoken, information from the MS Society of Canada’s website may be helpful to share with your relative.
For any other questions related to coming to Canada, please visit Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).To contact IRCC directly you must complete an online form, calling the toll-free line provides pre-recorded information only.
I have (or my spouse/partner/child has) multiple sclerosis, can we emigrate to Canada?
Please contact an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada office near you. The MS Society of Canada is not involved in the immigration process and cannot comment on the status of applications. To contact IRCC directly you must complete an online form. All permanent resident applicants are required to undergo a medical exam as part of the application process. IRCC has appointed physicians to perform the medical exams. IRCC appointed physicians are not aware of the IRCC application decisions.
I am not Canadian and I do not live in Canada; can I get MS medications shipped to me from Canada?
No. MS medications (disease modifying therapies) are only available through prescription from a Canadian physician.
The MS Society is aware of the use of online pharmacies but we do not maintain a list of these pharmacies. There are potential serious risks surrounding the use of online pharmacies. Please visit: Health Canada and US Food and Drug Administration for more information.
Can I (or a relative) come to Canada for MS treatment (medications or procedures)?
There may be an MS Society or MS clinic in the country where you, or your relative lives. Please visit the MS International Federation for a listing of MS Societies around the world.
Many treatments offered in Canada are the same as those offered in other countries. If you (or a relative) are experiencing symptoms that are new or interfere with daily functioning, please speak with your health care provider in your local region to learn about treatment options available to you.
In Canada, there are specialized multiple sclerosis clinics. A very limited number of these clinics may accept international patients on a referral basis only. The MS Society of Canada can not comment on wait times and does not provide financial assistance for medical appointments once in Canada. Costs for all medical appointments including tests (blood work, MRI etc.), transportation, accommodation, medication, translation services etc. are the responsibility of the individual seeking medical services in Canada.
Can I come to Canada for the stem cell therapy / bone marrow transplantation/clinical trial?
It is not possible to come to Canada for stem cell therapy. Stem cell therapy is not a Health Canada (Canadian health authority) approved therapy for multiple sclerosis outside of a clinical trial setting. Individuals must have valid Canadian provincial health insurance to participate in clinical trials in Canada.
I am visiting Canada (visitor visa, work permit holder, study permit holder) and I have MS. Do I have to pay for medications, doctor’s appointments or other medical services?
Yes. Unless you have travel insurance that covers basic health services you will be required to pay for medical services. Medications are typically not included in travel insurance.
If you are a student with a study permit, you may have some health insurance available to you through your post secondary institution. Please contact your institution's student services or Registrar’s Office to see if you have health services available to you.
I am a Canadian citizen but live abroad, do I need to pay for medical services including medications if I come back to Canada?
Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada with valid federal, provincial or territorial health cards do not need to pay for most medical services provided they are covered under the federal, provincial or territorial health care plans. If you have lived outside of Canada for some time, your provincial health care insurance status may have been affected. Please visit the government of Canada site for information related to provincial health insurance.
Many medications and other treatments are available through public (federal, provincial and territorial) drug programs but individuals must meet the eligibility criteria for reimbursement.
MS medications (disease modifying therapies) are generally required to be prescribed by a neurologist. Individuals require a referral from their family doctor to make an appointment to see a neurologist (or any other specialist).