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Manitoba government invests $3 million in services, support for Manitobans with spinal cord injuries

Investment Helping Improve Quality of Life, Transition Back to Homes, Jobs: Minister Selby, Oswald

March 4, 2014 - The Manitoba government is investing $3 million over five yearswith the Rick Hansen Foundation and the Manitoba chapter of the Canadian Paraplegic Associationto help Manitobans with spinal cord injuries to successfully transition back into their homes and jobs and further advance health care and research initiatives in the province, Health Minister Erin Selby and Jobs and the Economy Minister Theresa Oswald announced today.

“People living with spinal cord injuries often need specialized services and supports to address their health-care needs and help them adjust to their daily lives,” said Minister Selby.  “These investments will help us further improve the health and quality of life of individuals with spinal cord injuries and ensure innovative research translates into direct benefits for Manitobans.”

Funding is being provided by both the province and Manitoba Public Insurance to support:

  • transitional services to help people successfully transition back to their home and job/training program;
  • rehabilitation and vocational counselling, with specialized support for the unique challenges faced by Aboriginal Manitobans with spinal cord injuries;
  • the continuation of a successful program to prevent pressure ulcers, a major complication of spinal cord injuries, which affects the health and quality of life of patients; and
  • research including a local study of how to best help Manitobans with spinal cord injuries as they undergo treatment and rehabilitation.

“The Government of Manitoba has been an important partner in our journey towards a healthier and more inclusive world,” said Rick Hansen.  “Today’s announcement is both a testament to the incredible work that has been done by Manitobans to make a difference in the lives of those with spinal cord injury and other disabilities in the province, and recognition for what we all will be able to achieve in the future as we continue to work together.”

There are approximately 3,100 Manitobans with spinal cord injuries, with an average of 60 additional injuries each year.  While some spinal cord injuries result from motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports injuries or violence, others are caused by a disease such as cancer, bacterial or viral infections, spinal disc degeneration or multiple sclerosis.

“The support of the Canadian Paraplegic Association, the Rick Hansen Foundation and the Manitoba government has opened the door to a world of possibilities for me and for many others,” said Scott Coates, who lives with a spinal cord injury.  “I’m thankful for the opportunities and generous support that have helped me to achieve my career and personal goals.” 


Since his injury, Coates has completed two graduate degrees and has returned to coaching AAA level hockey. He also enjoys a successful career in public service providing supports to other people with disabilities.

Minister Selby noted the funding builds on a $3-million investment made in 2008 to support work over five years. This partnership has helped to improve health outcomes and quality of life for Manitobans with spinal cord injuries by allowing for the acceleration of research at the University of Manitoba Spinal Cord Research Centre, the advancement of new treatment and rehabilitation techniques, and personalized support to assist Manitobans with spinal cord injuries in living independent and productive lives in their communities, she said.

Minister Oswald said this funding also supported the creation of two rehabilitation counsellor positions, which have served hundreds of Manitobans and helped 58 individuals secure employment and 81 participate in further education. Over the past five years, the Canadian Paraplegic Association reports a 43 per cent increase in educational placements and a 56 per cent increase in employment placements.

“Spinal cord injury care is complex and lifelong, and it’s important we continue to support Manitobans who have spinalcord injuries,” said Minister Oswald. “Working together, we can help people live independently, contribute to the economy and help them maintain healthy lives with their families.”

Since its establishment in 1988, the Rick Hansen Foundation has funded research to provide better care and outcomes for those who sustain a spinal cord injury, and contributed to improving accessibility for people with disabilities. For more information, visit www.rickhansen.com.

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