After the Second World War, a group of veterans founded the Canadian Paraplegic Association. A Quebec chapter of this organization was created in 1946. The first major concern was to develop treatments and care protocols to keep its members healthy. Through the hard work of Dr. Gustave Gingras, founder of the Quebec branch of the CPA, this desire was reflected in the creation of the Montreal Rehabilitation Institute (MRI) in 1949. In the ’60s, working with quadriplegics was a new challenge in which the Association was successful. In 1978, the Quebec division of the CPA became the Quebec Paraplegic Association (QPA).
Among its priorities, the Association has been dedicated to the social and professional reintegration of people with spinal cord injuries since its inception. Our goal is to help them return to the workforce and live an active life. A support service offered by peers is available to them throughout their rehabilitation and reintegration process. The Association also works to promote the interests of its members and the dissemination of relevant information in this area. It also offers employment services from its specialized human resources center, founded in 1972. This helps not only people with spinal cord injuries, but people with other physical or neurological disabilities return to school or return to the workforce.
Besides the individual work done with our members to help them achieve their goals of social integration and autonomy, the QPA has instigated or assisted in the creation of several government programs and projects, and been responsible for several innovative advocacy and promotional campaigns. To give some examples, the QPA contributed to the creation of the Montreal Rehabilitation Institute (MRI) in 1949. In the ’60s and ’70s, it helped create several employment programs for people with disabilities. During the 80’s, it organized major awareness campaigns to promote the rights of people with disabilities. Moreover, in the 90s, it was a driving force behind the creation of centers of expertise for SCI. It also contributed to the establishment of other community organizations, including Viomax and the Quebec Association of Wheelchair Sports (AQSFR).
In 2010, the QPA joined forces with the Spinal Cord Research Foundation to become Moelle Épinière et Motricité Québec (MEMO-Qc). Furthering its work in the fields of social and professional integration and promotion of rights and awareness, the association is now involved in supporting scientific research as well.
Currently, MEMO-Qc has almost 2000 members. Through its mission, it aims to improve all aspects of life of people with spinal cord injuries and is campaigning for their autonomy and their participation in the various strata of social and economic life. Today, it is possible for people living with a spinal cord injury to face the future with optimism.