Canadian ALS Learning Institute

Nobody understands better the need to access effective ALS treatments than those who are living with the disease right now. With many promising ALS therapies currently in clinical trials, there is increasing interest from families affected by ALS to learn more about the research landscape and how new therapies become available to Canadians. 

That’s why ALS Canada created the Canadian ALS Learning Institute (CALI). Informed by and developed for people affected by ALS, the CALI provides attendees with an online, small-group learning experience to better understand the Canadian ALS landscape, clinical research and therapy development, and how new therapies become approved and accessible to Canadians. Participating in the CALI is an opportunity to learn more about the ALS research process and how to advocate effectively for access to Health Canada approved therapies. 

Applications are now CLOSED for the 2024 program

The 2024 cohort will take place across seven modules at the following dates and times:

Graduate Testimonials

“The Canadian ALS Learning Institute was an amazing experience. Meeting other people who are living with ALS and caregivers showed me I was not alone. ALS Canada and all involved in research, fundraising and advocacy are worth their weight in gold. Participating in the institute has lit a fire in me to advocate.” 

- CALI graduate

“Top scientific experts shared their experience and expertise on a number of topics related to ALS. They welcomed questions and provided easy to understand answers in a comfortable group setting. It was comforting to hear and actually see ALS researchers working together and sharing information for a common good.” 

- CALI graduate

Working Group

ALS Canada thanks the volunteer working group of people living with ALS who have helped to inform the program content and the application and evaluation processes. 

Todd Bertamini, Alberta 
Carmen Cels, Ontario 
Mike Cels, Ontario 
Norman MacIsaac, Quebec 
Brad MacKenzie, British Columbia 
Cali Orsulak, Manitoba 
Paula Trefiak, Saskatchewan 


As a donor-funded organization, ALS Canada is actively seeking sponsors at a variety of levels to help cover the expenses associated with offering this program. If you are interested in supporting the Learning Institute as a sponsor, please contact Christopher Pon, VP Fund Development at 

You are also welcome to make a donation to ALS Canada. Donations will be leveraged not only for the CALI but also community-based support within Ontario, the ALS Canada Research Program, and advocacy federally as well as provincially within Ontario. 

Cytokinetics is a Bronze Sponsor of the Canadian ALS Learning Institute.



Up to 40 spots are available. Households with more than one family member interested in attending must submit a separate application (unless the second attendee is participating only as a support to their loved one living with ALS and not for educational purposes).

These sessions are offered at no charge to the applicants selected.

Applicants must:

  • Live in Canada
  • Have a personal connection to ALS (i.e. living with the disease or a current or former caregiver to someone living with ALS)
  • Have access to a device with an internet connection and webcam
  • Be available to attend the majority of modules on the dates/times noted

Applications are evaluated by a committee comprised of ALS Canada staff and volunteers, including people living with ALS. Evaluation criteria include availability and commitment to attend modules with an openness to learning:

Additionally, ALS Canada will review applications to ensure a diverse cohort in age, background, and geography.

It is expected that participants will make every effort to be available to attend all of the modules. We understand there may be extenuating circumstances and a module may be missed. Depending on the circumstance, participants who miss multiple sessions may be asked to withdraw from the program and/or no longer have the opportunity to participate in follow-up activities.

Participants will learn more about the Canadian ALS landscape, clinical research and therapy development, how new therapies become approved and accessible to Canadians, and how to advocate effectively for access to approved therapies.

To foster learning and meaningful dialogue, the Learning Institute is limited to 40 participants.

  • Learn more about the Canadian ALS landscape.
  • Hear from some of the researchers deeply invested in understanding ALS and contributing to the development of effective treatments.
  • Connect with other ALS community members with an interest in research and advocacy.
  • Learn more about the ALS research process and how to advocate effectively for access to Health Canada approved therapies.
  • Access follow-up opportunities for ongoing engagement.

Attendees in this program are expected to:

  • Engage in discussion throughout this program and afterward.
  • Come to each module prepared (e.g. reading materials circulated in advance, etc.).
  • Complete an evaluation survey after each module and a final evaluation survey on the entirety of the program to help us make continuous improvements.
  • Track and share your advocacy efforts.
  • Embrace your new role as an ALS Canada Community Ambassador and pledge to advocate for ALS to decision-makers.

The program has been developed in consultation with people living with ALS and someone caring for those living with ALS. The program includes sessions where people living with ALS will share their experiences and perspectives.

Yes. Participants will have the option to share verbally or use the chat feature to type comments and questions. ALS Canada has developed this program with different abilities in mind.

Unsuccessful applicants are encouraged to check back for future programming and reapply.

After completing the program, participants will have the opportunity to:

  • Attend and participate in regular meetings of the PEACe Committee, a group of people from across North America who have completed Module 2, the Clinical Research Learning Institute.
  • Attend and participate in regular meetings hosted by ALS Canada and offered exclusively to graduates of the program. These meetings are a continued opportunity to discuss the latest on ALS research and advocacy.

Yes. All modules and learning materials are made available to participants afterwards for reference.

All content for the Learning Institute is currently delivered in English. We are exploring ways to make content available in other languages.

Please contact with any further questions.