Let's move Bill C-277 forward, Together.
Domestic abuse, homelessness, substance abuse, overdose, mental health, and trauma are all linked to brain injury. MP Alistair MacGregor’s Bill C-277 is calling on the government to develop a national strategy to support and improve brain injury prevention and treatment.
We know that over 1.5 million Canadians live with brain injury and it contributes to homelessness, incarceration, substance use and mental health issues.
That is why Alistair is very pleased to have introduced this bill, which would establish a national brain injury strategy. It would require the Minister of Health to develop a national strategy to support and improve brain injury awareness, prevention and treatment, as well as the rehabilitation and recovery of persons living with brain injury.
Bill C-277 is supported by the City of Victoria, Toronto Star editorial board, CGB Centre for Traumatic Life Losses, Brain Injury Canada, Cowichan Brain Injury Society, March of Dimes Canada, BC Brain Injury Association. BC Consensus on Brain Injury, Braintrust Canada, Saskatchewan Brain Injury Association, Ontario Brain Injury Association, Canadian Traumatic Brain Injury Research Consortium, Concussion Cafe Yukon, Vista Centre Brain Injury Services, BCIRPU (injuryresearch.bc.ca), CONNEXION >TCC.QC - Regroupement des associations de personnes traumatisées craniocérébrales du Québec, and the Stroke Survivors Advocacy Group of Canada.
The strategy requires a number of things, like the implementation of preventative measures and identifying the training, education and guidance needs of health care professionals, but it will also identify the challenges resulting from brain injury, such as mental health problems, addiction, housing and homelessness issues, and criminality. The bill would also have reporting requirements so that Parliament can keep tabs on this strategy.
We'd like to thank Brain Injury Canada and Janelle from Alistair's riding of Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, who is a member of the Constable Gerald Breese Centre for Traumatic Life Losses, for their collaboration and input, which made this bill possible.
In July 2023, Brain Injury Canada and the Canadian Traumatic Brain Injury Research Consortium released a position paper on the need for moderate to severe traumatic brain injury to be designated a chronic condition. The paper further highlights the need for a national strategy on brain injuries.
What some of the experts are saying:
"Brain injury is one of the hidden epidemics, too often unrecognized, that exacts a heavy toll on sufferers and their families and caregivers. It has many health implications, which may last a lifetime. Children with brain injuries, for example, are at elevated risk for depression. Other potential consequences of traumatic brain injury include loss of behavior control, aggression, memory loss, dementia and, potentially, substance abuse. Nearly half the homeless population have endured brain injury. A national strategy that entails the proper education of health personnel, teachers, social workers, law enforcement people, service providers and policy makers at all levels is urgently needed. Based on my clinical work and on my extensive reading of the research literature, I fully support this initiative."
Gabor Maté MD, CM
"Brain injuries among the younger population are often due to auto accidents, while falls are one of the reasons many older people get brain injuries. But, however they get their brain injuries, it changes the lives of all these people emotionally, psychologically, physically and sometimes their behaviour. It affects the individual, but also their families, friends, and the whole environment that surrounds them. Bill C-277 is paramount here. It’s time for a call to action and our consortium strongly supports this bill.”
Dr. Alexis Turgeon, Canada Research Chair in Critical Care Neurology and Trauma, member of the Canadian Traumatic Brain Injury Research Consortium.
“From concussion to stroke to severe traumatic brain injuries, the chronic nature of many brain injuries is often the root cause of challenges such as mental health, addictions, unemployment and homelessness. A national strategy will help to improve awareness, prevention and treatment as well as the rehabilitation and recovery outcomes of individuals and families living with the effects of brain injury.”
Michelle McDonald, Chief Executive Officer, Brain Injury Canada