Message from the Minister of Health – World MS Day


May 30, 2023 | Ottawa, Ontario | Canadian Institutes of Health Research

May is MS Awareness Month and today, we mark World MS Day. Earlier this month, I met with MS Canada to discuss how we can work together to improve the lives of the more 90,000 Canadians with multiple sclerosis (MS) and prevent MS before it starts.

MS is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the protective covering of the nerves in the brain, spine and optical nerve and disrupts the communication between the central nervous system and the rest of the body. The disease is unpredictable, often occurring in a pattern of relapses and remission with a range of symptoms, including weakness or imbalance, abnormal sensation, mood and cognitive changes, mobility issues, vision problems, pain, and fatigue.

On World MS Day, we join the global MS community in solidarity and hope for the future. For Canadians and all people affected by MS, hope for the future is found in research. It’s research that will help us understand the cause of MS, prevent the disease before it starts, discover new treatments, and ultimately find a cure for MS.

Our government is supporting the work of many MS researchers across Canada through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). In the past five years, CIHR has invested $45 million in research related to MS. This funding is currently supporting research that aims to understand the role of the Epstein-Barr virus in the development of MS. Recent discoveries have established this virus infection as the leading risk factor for MS. Other research is using patient and clinical data to create a predictive model of MS to improve MS treatment for patients, implement an online mindfulness therapy program to help MS patients manage stress, and determine the potential benefits of exercise to protect against the neurodegeneration in MS.

By continuing to invest in research, I am hopeful that we will make great progress in not only improving the health and quality of life of people with MS, but also achieving the vision of a world free of MS.

Thank you to all Canadians who have so far taken part in activities that MS Canada has organized for this month to connect the MS community and help raise awareness of MS and its impact in Canada. If you have not done so yet, I encourage you to visit the MS Canada website to learn more and find out how you can take action to support Canadians living with MS.

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Health


Guillaume Bertrand
Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

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