Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other lawmakers met with members of the multiple sclerosis (MS) community and the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada (MSSC) at the start of May, MS Awareness Month, to discuss issues of importance to those living with the disease.
“I want to thank Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for showing his support during MS Awareness Month,” Yves Savoie, MSSC’s president and chief executive officer, said in a press release. “Prime Minister Trudeau’s visit with members of the MS community underscores the importance of our efforts to help improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of Canadians affected by multiple sclerosis as well as reinforces the Canadian Government’s commitment to supporting research to help prevent and treat chronic conditions.”
MS, a chronic and potentially disabling disease of the central nervous system, is one of the most common neurological diseases affecting young adults in Canada — the country, in fact, has the highest rate of MS in the world, the MSSC said.
The prime minister expressed his support for Canadians living with MS, and commended the MSSC and other groups for their advocacy efforts. He also thanked the MSSC for making realistic and tangible recommendations to improve the working status of MS patients (such as extending Employment Insurance benefits to 26 weeks from 15 weeks to better support these workers and to match compassionate care benefits), and to accelerate government funding of research into treatments for progressive MS, which currently has no effective disease-modifying therapies.
“I have lived with progressive MS for 20 years and I am very excited about Canada’s leadership in the fight to end MS,” said Marie Vaillant, board chair of the Ontario and Nunavut Division of MSSC, and the MS International Federation’s board vice chair. “Knowing that our country is a part of the global movement to bring together researchers to understand the progression of MS, develop clinical trials and find treatments that have eluded us so far is crucial to those of us who live with progressive MS.”