Historical events have shaped the various regional gene pools of the French-Canadian (FC) population, leading to increased prevalence of some rare diseases. The first studies of these founder effects were performed in large part by astute clinicians such as André Barbeau. In collaboration with others, he contributed greatly to the delineation of phenotypic subtypes of these conditions. As such, the following neurogenetic disorders were first identified in patients of FC origin: AOA2, ARSACS, HSAN2, RAB, and HMSN/ACC. We have summarized our current knowledge of the main hereditary ataxias, spastic parapareses and neuropathies that are particular to the FC population. The initial genetic characterization of the more common and homogeneous of these diseases has been largely completed. We predict that the regional populations of Canada will allow the identification of new rare forms of hereditary ataxias, spastic parapareses and neuropathies, and contribute to the unravelling of the genetic basis of these entities.