Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

250 Dundas Street West, Suite 500
Toronto, ON M5T 2Z5
President & CEO: Sylvia Leonard
Board Chair: Valerie Hussey

Charitable Reg. #: 10774 6174 RR0001
Sector: Health
Operating Charity

Donor Accountability

Grade: A-

The grade is based on the charity's public reporting of the work it does and the results it achieves.

Financial Transparency

Audited financial statements for current and previous years available on the charity's website [ Audited financial statement for most recent year ]

Need for Funding

Funding Reserves Program Costs

Spending Breakdown

Cents to The Cause

2014 2015 2016
For a dollar donated, cents funding the cause after fundraising and admin costs, excluding surplus.

Full-time staff #311

Avg. Compensation $55,953

Top 10 Staff Salary Range

$350k + 1
$300k - $350k 0
$250k - $300k 0
$200k - $250k 4
$160k - $200k 4
$120k - $160k 1
$80k - $120k 0
$40k - $80k 0
< $40k 0
Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2015

About Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada:

Founded in 1948, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada (MS Society of Canada) aims to “be a leader in finding a cure for multiple sclerosis and enable people affected by MS to enhance their quality of life.” MS Society of Canada reports that Canada has the highest incidence of MS in the world, estimating that 100,000 Canadians suffer from the disease. MS can affect vision, hearing, memory, balance and mobility. To date, there is no known cure.

MS Society of Canada has programs in four functional areas: research, support, community, and access. In 2016, the society granted $7.8m in grants for research, down 22% from 2014. Of  the charity's research grants, 39% were directed to progression and therapies, 26% went to nerve damage and repair, 21% went to cause and risk factors, and 14% were directed to symptom management and quality of life in 2015.

Support programs include information and referrals, counseling, self-help groups, recreational programs, and financial assistance. MS Knowledge Network is a call-centre that receives an average of 314 contacts per month. It takes, on average, 1 day to handle and resolve issues through this program. A full list of support services and community programs are available on the charity’s website and can be filtered by location.

Access programs refer to government relations and advocacy services. Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada ran 2 surveys and 8 focus groups, receiving over 6,000 responses from Canadians affected by MS. Through these surveys and focus groups, MS Society of Canada identified barriers to a good quality of life for Canadians with MS and gaps in the healthcare system.

Moving forward, MS Society of Canada’s vision for 2018 aims to invest in research focusing on therapeutics for progressive MS, increase access to programs and services, and advocate for more responsive and flexible employment supports to improve workforce participation rates among people affected by MS.

Financial Review:

Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada is a Major 100 charity, with donations and special events revenues of $49.2m in 2016. A large portion of its revenues are generated through community-based fundraising events, dinners, tournaments and third-party events. Its special events fundraising was 51% of revenues, at $27.0m in 2016. The charity’s administrative costs were 10% of revenues and its fundraising costs were 42% of donations. As such, for every $1 donated, 48 cents go to the cause. This is outside of Charity Intelligence’s reasonable range for overhead spending. Research grants account for only 15% of total program spending.

The charity’s funding reserves of $17.5m include $615k in donor-endowed funds. This results in a program cost coverage ratio, excluding donor-endowed funds, of 68%. This means that it can fund 8 months of its annual programs using its existing reserves.

This charity report is an update that is currently being reviewed by Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on June 21, 2017 by Juliana Badovinac.

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending December
Administrative costs as % of revenues 9.8%7.6%6.4%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 42.3%42.7%42.3%
Program cost coverage (%) 70.3%63.9%68.9%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 22,27523,96825,501
Government funding 1,2181,1591,220
Fees for service 523457
Lotteries (net) 1,2301,2761,102
Business activities (net) 75122116
Special events 26,97727,79427,852
Investment income 455493615
Other income 350233241
Total revenues 52,63255,07956,704
Program costs 17,08419,79420,293
Grants 7,8107,8349,496
Administrative costs 5,1124,1483,612
Fundraising costs 20,85522,11722,556
Cash flow from operations 1,7711,186747
Funding reserves 17,51017,65220,535
Note: Ci reported lotteries and business activities net of expenses. Cost of goods sold and gaming expenses were adjusted affecting revenues and expenses by ($363k) in F2016, ($383k) in F2015, and ($410k) in F2014. Ci adjusted expenses for amortization and changes in research grants payable affecting expenses by ($1.8m) in F2016, ($1.3m) in F2015, and ($1.2m) in F2014.

Comments added by the Charity:

[Charity Intelligence note: The charity has been asked to provide an updated comment.]

Since 1948, the MS Society of Canada has consistently transformed donor contributions into concrete services and research accomplishments that have helped tens of thousands of people with MS live better days.

The MS Society has been able to do this for two reasons: extraordinary community support of our mission and astute stewardship of donor dollars by volunteers.

The MS Society is a national charity led by volunteers who believe wholeheartedly in what we do and how we do it. We have over a million donors annually supporting our work and we receive only two per cent of our revenue from government funding.  This is unlike the majority of charities in the health sector where the percentage of revenue from the government is 70 per cent according to Statistics Canada. In addition, we receive less than one percent of our funding from pharmaceutical companies.

The costs associated with our fundraising activities are strictly monitored and, year-over- year, result in our ability to provide millions of dollars to leading-edge research and provide services for people affected by MS.

Like any other charity that raises funds on its own, our fundraising costs are a reality. Without implementing dynamic and assertive fundraising programs, the MS Society would simply not achieve its mission. We strive to achieve a balance of containing costs without taking resources away from our communities.

Our reporting policies are transparent and responsible, and adherent to all government and industry standards. We report fundraising costs as fundraising costs.  Our audited financial statements are made available to all supporters and the public every year.

Donors should feel confident that the MS Society of Canada is a careful steward of every donor dollar. Please visit our website for more information on donating with confidence to the MS Society of Canada.

For more information:

Lindsay Gulin, Specialist, Media Relations

1-800-268-7582 ext. 3245

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