About Us

Who We Are

A charitable, non-profit organization whose members are people of Durham Region who have experienced brain injuries, their families and others who share our vision

Our Mission

To enrich the lives of people of Durham Region, particularly those who live with the effects of brain injuries, their families, friends and communities.

Our Vision

That all members of our community will live with dignity, respect, acceptance and independence. That everyone will be able to contribute their skills and knowledge to the community through productive and fulfilling activities. That our community will be accessible in all ways to all people. That there will be no more brain injuries

Our Goals

To Enhance our understanding of the physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and social needs of people of Durham Region who have experienced brain injuries, and to collaborate with the community of Durham and beyond to establish means to address these needs.

To Enable people who have experienced brain injuries and their families to establish effective connections within the Durham community, in particular, with local service providing agencies.

To Promote a positive image and the acceptance of people who have experienced brain injuries, by expanding our knowledge and the knowledge of the Durham Region community through Research, public awareness and education regarding brain injuries and their effects

To Strive with our Community Partners to make Durham Region a safer and more injury-free place in which to live, work and play.

A meeting of family members of young people who experienced brain injuries in October 1982 was the beginning of the Brain Injury Association of Durham Region. This first Caregivers’ Support Group continued to meet monthly; and in October 1983, the first Survivors’ Support Group meeting was held in conjunction with the Caregivers’ Group.

Much of the discussion at these meetings centred around the lack of services for people of Durham Region who had experienced brain injuries. Group members recognized the need to create a more formal arrangement if the Groups were to have a voice in the development of services.  Thus began the incorporation process. In June 1987, the Head Injury Association of Durham Region was incorporated as a registered charitable, non-profit corporation in the Province of Ontario.

At the same time, other local Head Injury Associations were being formed across the province, including the Ontario Head Injury Association.

As the Support Groups continued to meet over the next few years, the Board and members of the Association developed a number of service proposals for presentation to government and other funders. These efforts paid off with the granting of an annual budget from the Ministry of Health in late 1990. This enabled the Association to hire its first employee in January 1991; and then to open its office at 459 Bond St. E., Oshawa Ontario, in March 1991. With the new office, the Association was then able to hire its Administrative Assistant and be able to respond to people’s needs on a daily basis. At that point in time, the Association was in contact with 150 people who had experienced brain injuries.

During the next few years, the Association conducted a number of Need Studies and submitted proposals for the further development of services. The contact list grew from 150 to more than 500 in 1999, the year in which the Ministry granted more funds for the creation of the Association’s Community Support Coordination service. The Association now had 4 full-time employees.

In 2006, more funds were granted to enable the development of a Day Service and the move of the Association to its current location at 850 King St. W., Oshawa Ontario. Both the Day Service and the Community Support Coordination service continue to provide much needed support to people of Durham Region who have experienced brain injuries. The Brain Injury Association of Durham Region also continues its work to learn more about people’s needs and how to address them.

Board of Directors


Matt Sutton President
Mark Bouwmeester Past President
Shannon Jackson Vice President
*Vacant* Treasurer
Paul Dobbs Secretary
Joanna Burke Director
Zachery Prescott Director
Kelly Ng Director
Stephen Bourque Director
Susan Doyle Sazar Director
Dave Moulds Director




By the time the clock strikes midnight tonight, 144 new brain injuries will be sustained by individuals in Ontario. Each year, 150,000 Canadians suffer an Acquired Brain Injury. IN Ontario 795 children out of 100,000 will suffer a brain injury this year. It is anticipated that a brain injury will occur in Canada every 3.5 minutes. These numbers are added to the numbers from the day before, the month before and the year before. Currently, there are close to 500,000 people in Ontario who are identified as having an acquired brain injury. The impact and devastation to families and individuals affected by brain injury is staggering.

An injury to the brain is likely to result in death or permanent disability. Brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability worldwide.

An acquired brain injury (ABI) is damage to the brain which occurs after birth due to a traumatic event, such as a blow to the head, or a non-traumatic event, such as a medical event (stroke, etc). It is not due to a congenital disorder or a progressively degenerative disorder. As the brain is a complex and delicate organ. damage to the brain can produce long term difficulties.


  • Brain injuries occur 10 times more often than spinal cord injuries.
  • Brain injuries are the leading cause of death and disability for Canadians under the age of 35; with the highest rate of injury occurs between the ages of 15 – 24 years.
  • More than 800 Ontarians die each year due to brain injuries.
  • More than 12,000 people in Ontario sustain disabling brain injuries each year.
  • Males are more likely than females to incur a traumatic brain injury and.

Causes (estimated)

  • Motor vehicle collisions (45%)
  • Falls (10%)
  • Bicycle incidents (10%)
  • Workplace Injuries (10%)
  • Sports, Assaults, other traumatic causes (10%)
  • Medical conditions or diseases (10%), (e.g. aneurysms, tumours, meningitis, etc.)
  • Asphyxia, poisoning, other toxins (5%), (e.g. carbon monoxide etc.)

Effects of Brain Injury

As the brain is the control centre for everything we do, think and feel, brain injuries can result in many kinds of physical, cognitive and behavioral / emotional impairments, and interfere with the brain’s ability to perform any of its tasks. These impairments may be permanent or temporary. While each brain injury is a unique event with a unique set of effects, there are some common difficulties arising from brain injuries:


  • movement problems
  • coordination and balance problems
  • full or partial paralysis
  • chronic pain
  • fatigue
  • seizures
  • sleep problems


  • impairment of sense of smell and/or taste
  • vision or hearing difficulties


  • impaired speech
  • word-finding problems
  • difficulty understanding oral, written or non-verbal language


  • difficulty expressing emotions appropriately
  • mood swings
  • low frustration
  • anger management
  • depression


  • slowed information processing
  • memory loss
  • memory-processing problems
  • problems with concentration and attention
  • impaired judgment
  • problem-solving difficulties
  • social behavioural problems

Impact Upon Families & Relationships

Although each individual is unique, the sequels resulting from a brain injury often have similarities. Some of the sequels can include difficulty with memory loss, impaired reasoning skills, and tendency toward “one track thinking.”

Imagine not remembering names and faces of lifelong friends or turning on a burner with a pot and not remembering having done so. Many persons with brain injuries will also have physical disabilities such as paralysis of the limbs or loss of vision and/or hearing. Some people experience varying degrees of speech impairment. Others may be able to speak, but due to cognitive impairments, have difficulty organizing their thoughts into meaningful speech. Some people lose their sense of smell, suffer from headaches or have to cope with having seizures. It is quite difficult to rely on others to plan your day.

Emotional effects vary as well as the person with a brain injury will see changes in emotional control. This may be related to the brain injury or to the frustrations that the person feels as he tries to adapt to his new self.

Realization of the effects of the injury combined with the increased dependence on others and/or a loss of control over one’s life may be cause for depression.

The social consequences of a brain injury can be devastating. Many people report losing friends and having difficulty cultivating and maintaining new friendships. These difficulties may result from the person experiencing problems with communication. Imagine the frustration of having difficulty remembering ideas and communicating them coherently and logically during a conversation. Loudness of the speech and knowing when it is appropriate to speak are examples of social skills that we all take for granted. In addition, subtle social skills may have been lost.

It is important to note the strength and character of these people. Once again all persons are unique, with varying injuries, personalities and supports available. Although there may be tremendous amount of loss to cope with, many people with brain injuries remain determined, sensitive and positive to their approach to life.

Although the effects of brain injury may make it necessary for the injured person to have assistance for up to 24 hours in a day, families often remain or become the primary caregiver and support person. Many families are left to cope on their own, with little understanding of the effects of the injury and the demands of living with an injured family member. Families need support of others who understand the stress within these family systems.

Preventing Brain Injury

Brain injuries result from falls, blows to the head, physical violence, car crashes and sports. It is imperative that individuals engaging in outdoor activities wear the proper protective gear and become educated in the do’s and don’ts of the sport of the their choice. Safety guidelines are not meant to damper your fun, rather they are in place to ensure you have an enjoyable experience. Over 60 children in Canada die as a result of bicycle related injuries — a large number of them with brain injury.

  • Wearing a bike helmet can reduce the risk of brain injury by 85%.
  • The use of seat belts and air bags can do much to reduce the incidence of brain injury.
  • Avoiding alcohol and drugs can be very beneficial, particularly when driving.
  • A healthy lifestyle can prevent some forms of brain injury which result from illness or disease. impaired judgment.
  • Awareness of the consequences of brain injury can be a powerful prevention tool

All successful community programs require partnership and trust between the agency, its funders, the service recipients and the community at large.  As a community-based organization, Brain Injury Association of Durham Regions committed to accountability and transparency and makes its plans and reports readily available to the public.   Below you can find our Agency’s Multi-Sector Service Accountability Agreement, Reporting Schedules, 2018-2019, 2018-2019 Audited financial statements and our 2017-2018 Annual Report 

Brain Injury Information

The Brain Injury Association of Canada

Our mandate is to improve the quality of life for all Canadians affected by acquired brain injury and promote its prevention. As well, BIAC is dedicated to facilitate post-trauma research, education and advocacy in partnership with national, provincial/territorial and regional associations and other stakeholders.

Ontario Brain Injury Association

Mission Statement: To enhance the lives of Ontarians living with the effects of acquired brain injury through education, awareness and support.

Heads Up! Durham

A brain injury awareness and prevention community mobilization whose time has come!

The Toronto ABI Network

Mission: To provide leadership in furthering equitable, accessible, responsive, cost-effective and quality publicly-funded services and support for persons living with the effects of an acquired brain injury in the Greater Toronto Area

Stop Concussions

StopConcussions.com is a concussion/neurotrauma educational and awareness platform for all sports, to address the growing trend of concussion in sports.

Sports Injuries from Youth to Professional Sports 

Sport-related accidents involving the head can lead to serious injury, and when brain damage is involved, the impact can be devastating and long-lasting. Brain injuries in sports can occur when two athletes collide, when an athlete is hit in the head with sporting equipment, or when someone falls. Even routine activities when playing sports, such as heading a ball in a soccer game, can result in a concussion and irreversible brain damage.

A Parent’s Guide to Brain Injuries in Sports

While sports is generally a safe activity, and precautions are in place to prevent injuries from happening, they do occasionally occur. To learn more about brain injuries we have provided a number of useful resources for parents and others looking for more information.

A HELPFUL GUIDE & FACTS:Traumatic Brain Injury

This guide should give you an overview of TBI’s – understanding diagnosis, symptoms, treatment options and help available.

Disabilty Doorway

This website is designed to assist persons with disabilities and/or their families by providing information on resources and services that can help improve the quality of life for everyone involved.

Durham Region Employment Network

The Durham Region Employment Network (DREN) is a not-for-profit agency that is focused on employment for people with barriers. Member agencies, employers and job seekers all benefit from our effective network. Let us help…

Feed the Need Durham

Feed the Need in Durham is a non-profit, charitable organization that is fighting to end hunger right here in Durham Region. Thousands of local people rely on food banks and soup kitchens to get the food necessary to sustain life. Feed the Need in Durham serves the majority of these people through our member agencies located in neighbourhoods across the Region

Community Development Council Durham

The Community Development Council Durham (CDCD) is an independent, not-for-profit social planning organization that has been working to enhance the quality of life for individuals, families and communities in Durham for more than 40 years. We organize and implement a variety of research, community development and social planning initiatives as well as administer and deliver front line social service programs. Provides weekly apartment rental list.

Health Care Connects

Health Care Connect helps Ontarians who are without a family health care provider (family doctor or nurse practitioner) to find one. People without a family health care provider are referred to a family doctor or a nurse practitioner who is accepting new patients in their community.

Car Accident vs Sports Injury

If you’ve ever gotten tackled in a full-contact football game, you know firsthand that it does much more than knock the wind out of you. Depending upon the intensity of the hit and the type of protective gear you’re wearing, injuries could range from mild to severe, like a few bruised ribs to a concussion.

For those who’ve never had the pleasure of playing tackle football before, an injury like a concussion isn’t entirely out of the question. Even a small fender bender can cause a more serious head injury that could warrant a trip to the hospital.

The Importance of Using Safety Equipment

There are many benefits to children being involved in sports. Sports help build up a child’s self-esteem while encouraging them to form friendships that could last a lifetime. Organized sports can also be an excellent learning tool that can teach children life skills such as problem-solving, time management, and goal-setting. However, participating in sports is not without its risks. There are a few important things to keep in mind that will help ensure your child’s safety while participating in sports.