The BC Spinal Cord Injury Network helps make BC the best place for people with physical disabilities to live, work, and be active.
What is the BC Spinal Cord Injury Network?
Formed in 2010, the BC Spinal Cord Injury Network (BC SCI Network) is comprised of five disability organizations working together to help make BC the best place for people with physical disabilities to live, work, and participate in the community. These organizations include Spinal Cord Injury BC, BC Wheelchair Sports Association, BC Wheelchair Basketball Society, The Disability Foundation, and the Neil Squire Society.
While each of our organizations is known for doing a lot with a little, we all recognized that we could do a whole lot more by working together. Through the complementary services that we each provide, the BC SCI Network is helping people with physical disabilities to overcome key challenges in their life by supporting physical and mental health and wellness, reducing social isolation, helping to find accessible housing, providing information on supports for daily living and other priority resources, increasing the confidence and skills to return to work, providing opportunities to engage in active, healthy lifestyles through sport and recreation, and providing support to be active and engaged members of communities throughout BC.
In 2017, the provincial government, through the Ministry of Social Development, provided the Network $5 million over five years to deliver more services to more people in more parts of the province. View our Strategic Framework to learn more about the BC SCI Network makes a difference.
Who We Serve
Although we share a common objective of serving people with spinal cord injury, each of our organizations serves a much broader range of people with different forms of disability, as well as family members, caregivers, students, athletes of all abilities, and others who provide support and care to people with disabilities.
The support we have received from the government has allowed us to create collaborative service delivery positions, to share office space, and to keep our staff members, which include 47 people with disabilities, employed and providing service throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
This, in turn, enabled us to keep over 18,000 members connected, informed, and supported during the pandemic. In addition, it also allowed us to provide invaluable information resources and online support through 350,000 unique visits to our website-based services.
By working together, and with the support of the government, we have greatly increased participation in our life-changing services. Working with Indigenous partners, we have begun to co-develop programming for Indigenous persons with disabilities.
In 2021 alone, we served 18,343 people, welcomed 3,149 new members to our community, connected with 44,710 followers of social media, and received over 800,000 website page views from visitors looking for information, programming, and support on living well with a spinal cord injury.
Going forward, our collaborative services will focus on four priority areas of impact:
- The physical and mental health and wellness of people with disabilities and their families
- Access and inclusion
- Participation by people with disabilities in BC’s labour market
- Advancing Indigenous reconciliation and co-development of culturally safe and relevant services with Indigenous communities
Within these areas of impact, our work will focus on five overarching priorities:
- Supporting the inclusion of people with disabilities in BC’s pandemic restart
- Providing services that support meaningful participation and quality of life of people with disabilities and their families
- Supporting the implementation of the Accessible BC Act
- Increasing the efficiency and efficacy of operations through shared resources, knowledge, and infrastructure
- Securing ongoing funding and resources
We’ve also had the privilege of hearing how our work makes a difference in the lives of our members throughout the province:
As a child, SCI BC provided information and created connections for Richard following his injury. An introduction to BC Wheelchair Sports opened the world of sport to Richard, who went on to complete in five Paralympic games on Team Canada’s wheelchair basketball team. Richard now focuses on giving back and has done this in his former role as Peer Program Coordinator for SCI BC at the GF Strong Rehab Centre office. Currently, he is an ambassador for the BCWSA’s Indigenous Bridging the Gap program.
“Sometimes I’ll go chat with somebody from a First Nations community and say, “Hey, I know it’s big and scary, but it can be done.” Hopefully they always have someone to talk to, and I can be available for them,” he says, “Everyone is just trying to find where they fit in, and that takes time.” Without the Network, this wouldn’t be possible.
An SCI BC event marked the first time Kristina felt accepted after her injury, and from this event, more connections were made. Most importantly, it carried her back to a love she thought was lost—her music. An SCI BC peer introduced her to The Disability Foundation’s Vancouver Adapted Music Society (VAMS) which was crucial in helping her reconnect to her music; from here, Kristina’s world started to open up.
“For me, it’s been music, but there’s also things like gardening, sports, movement or being in nature,” she says, “These [Network] programs provide the opportunity to learn from other people—they give structure and motivation to follow your interests and to heal in body and spirit.”
Read the BC government announcement of the BC SCI Network.
Download our Network infographic to learn more.
View our Strategic Framework.