History of CPA


Canadian Paraplegic Association was founded under the leadership of the late John G. Counsel, who was sustained a spinal cord injury during World War 2 and in 1945 was expanded by a group of veterans’ clubs as a self-help organization. Initially, CPA’s goal was to assist veterans who were paralyzed in securing benefits and equipment that would enable them to return to their communities. As with many non-profit agencies, CPA started with the assistance of volunteers and very little funding. Not only were they committed to addressing mobility issues, but they also wanted to give veterans a better quality of life. Over time, the founding clubs became corporate divisions and the scope of the organization expanded to include civilians. As more and more communities requested their services, CPA faced a turning point.  They would now have to expand their mission and begin to address multiple mobility disabilities.

The Nova Scotia Division was founded by, the late Donald E. Curren C.M., Q.C., L.L.D. in 1952. He served as Executive Director until his retirement in 1984. By that time a division had been established in each of the Atlantic Provinces and he retired as Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Division.

CPA’s scope has increased considerably since 1945, but it remains true to its founders’ self-help philosophy. They remain committed to their members, while keeping some of the characteristics of a volunteer agency. Currently, CPA Nova Scotia employs three full time staff who possess social work degrees, one part-time administrative/ peer program assistant, and one full-time fund development coordinator. They bring to their positions knowledge, experience, as well as formal training.

Although CPA (NS) has faced many challenges over the last decade, it has remained client driven while providing professional services. Largely funded through charitable dollars, the Association spends much of its funds directly on the provision of its Core Services.