Pushing for Progress: Bill C-277 and the National Brain Health Strategy

November 07, 2023, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

The CBC News reported on Shriely Wilson's journey advocating for a national brain health strategy. You can read the original article here. Below is a summary of the article.

Brain injuries are not just physical traumas; they can cause significant lifelong challenges and expenses for those who suffer from them and their families. They are common ijuries resulting from slip and falls, car accidents, workplace injuries, assaults and medical conditions. The impact of brain injuries extends beyond personal pain and distress, affecting the Canadian healthcare system and the economy, costing hundreds of millions of dollars every year. This is the story of one woman's determined quest to improve treatment and create a national health strategy.

Shirley Wilson's life was forever altered when her son, Jacob, suffered a traumatic brain injury in a tragic accident. Jacob's story serves as a poignant reminder of the profound impact that brain injuries can have on individuals and their families. But out of this tragedy, Shirley Wilson found the strength to advocate for change and better support for those affected by brain injuries.

Jacob's journey began in 2018 when, at the age of 21, he was struck by a pickup truck, leaving him with a traumatic brain injury. The consequences of this injury were far-reaching, leading to psychosis and significant mental anguish. In search of relief, Jacob turned to street drugs, a decision that ultimately resulted in a tragic fentanyl overdose in November 2021.

Shirley Wilson, a resident of Abbotsford, British Columbia, is part of a delegation of 25 individuals who have traveled to Ottawa to champion a critical piece of legislation, Bill C-277. This bill aims to create a national strategy focused on brain injuries, with the potential to transform the way society perceives and supports those affected.

According to Wilson, the importance of Bill C-277, also known as the "National Brain Health Strategy," cannot be overstated. "C-277 is going to really improve the outcomes for those folks with a brain injury and for our communities in recognizing these are humans too. They're not numbers. Anybody with a brain injury is not a number. They are a person who has a family who loves them," she emphasized.

The delegation comprises individuals with lived experience, researchers, and advocates in the field, and their presence in Ottawa reflects a growing awareness of the urgent need for a national approach to brain injuries. Bill C-277, introduced by Alistair MacGregor, an NDP member of parliament from Vancouver Island, sets forth a comprehensive plan to enhance brain injury awareness, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation.

The bill's key recommendations encompass vital areas such as identifying training requirements for healthcare professionals, improving data collection on the incidence and treatment of brain injuries, and establishing national guidelines for prevention, diagnosis, and management. Furthermore, Bill C-277 advocates for the creation of a task force composed of policy makers, stakeholders, Indigenous groups, individuals with lived experience, and their families. This task force will play a pivotal role in shaping the strategy to address brain injuries effectively.

Mauricio Garcia-Barrera, a medical researcher from Victoria who has dedicated three years to studying the impacts of brain injuries, underscored the pressing need for increased awareness and education. "There's still a lot of stigma, lack of recognition. We don't have the adequate tools to identify in the emergency room by first responders. So we need to increase the awareness and education," he explained.

One of the challenges that Shirley Wilson faced in seeking help for her son was the dual nature of his condition—he was both a substance user and a brain injury survivor. This complexity made it difficult to access the long-term care Jacob needed. Wilson's experience highlights the need to recognize concurrent disorders and underscores the significance of addressing them comprehensively.

The statistics paint a stark picture of the impact of brain injuries in Canada. According to the Brain Canada Foundation, approximately 165,000 people in the country are affected by traumatic brain injuries each year. Furthermore, it's projected that by 2031, traumatic brain injuries will become one of the most common neurological conditions affecting Canadians.

Despite this, resources currently fall short of meeting the demand for services, leaving those with brain injuries at a high risk of missing a critical window of opportunity for recovery. The push for Bill C-277 and the creation of a national strategy for brain health couldn't come at a more crucial time.

If you or a loved one suffers a brain injury due to someone else’s negligence, contact one of our experienced personal injury lawyers today. Don’t face your situation alone.

Posted under Accident Benefit News, Brain Injury, Concussion Syndrome, traumatic brain injury

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Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit www.deutschmannlaw.com or call us at 1-519-742-7774.

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