Man sitting on a couch with a book and two young children.

Message from the Minister of Health and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health for Parkinson’s Awareness Month


April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month – a time dedicated to raising awareness and to show our support for Canadians who live with Parkinson’s disease and their families and caregivers.

Manon Day is one of more than 100,000 Canadians living with Parkinson’s. Manon, who lives in Montreal, was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s in 2011 at the age of 27 after experiencing symptoms since she was 17 years old, including fainting spells, stuttering, and trouble moving. The average age of diagnosis is 60 and the rate of Parkinson’s increases in older adults. The journey of each person diagnosed with Parkinson’s is unique given that there are now more than 35 recognized symptoms and they vary from person to person.

Since her diagnosis, Manon has been an advocate for people with Parkinson’s. She created an online support group, which today has more than 12,500 members, where she shares information, answers questions, and addresses myths about the disease. Manon is also a member of Parkinson Canada’s Advisory Council where she and other Canadians with lived experience contribute to Parkinson Canada’s mission by ensuring the voice of people affected by Parkinson’s is integrated in everything they do. As an advocate, Manon believes that research is crucial to increase knowledge and to develop innovative therapies for Parkinson’s disease.

We couldn’t agree more. That’s why our government is supporting researchers across Canada who are working hard to find ways to improve the diagnosis of Parkinson’s, develop more effective treatments, and improve the quality of life for people living with the disease and for their families and caregivers. In the past five years, we have invested nearly $80 million in research related to Parkinson’s through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). This includes funding for research conducted by Dr. Ronald Postuma, a neurologist and researcher at the Montreal Neurological Institute. Dr. Postuma is also the specialist who diagnosed Manon in 2011 and who has dramatically improved her quality of life by ensuring she gets the care she needs. Dr. Postuma has, and continues to, make significant contributions to the medical management of Parkinson’s and patient education, and he’s been a leader in supporting the advancement of Parkinson’s research in Canada through his work on various councils for Parkinson Canada.

As we look to further increase research into neurodegenerative conditions, last month, we announced a new research initiative led by the CIHR Institute of Aging on Brain Health and Cognitive Impairment in Aging, which is supported with funding of more than $38 million from the Government of Canada and partners. We are hopeful that research supported by this initiative will benefit people with Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative conditions as well as provide evidence that we can all use to reduce our risk of age-related brain conditions and promote our cognitive health throughout our lives.

This month, we encourage you to visit the Parkinson Canada website to learn more about Parkinson’s and to find out what you can do to support Canadians affected by Parkinson’s and their families and caregivers.

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

Adam van Koeverden, M.P.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

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