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The Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF) is the non-profit organization funded by the Ontario government that works to prevent neurotrauma, and to ensure Ontarians with neurotrauma lead full, productive lives.

ONF is the leader in moving research to evidence-informed practices and connects health care practitioners, researchers, stakeholders and policymakers to the information they need about neurotrauma prevention and health practices through regional, provincial, national and international collaborations and partnerships.

The Ontario Government has funded Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF) since 1998 and as a result has created and supported what has become an exceptional resource to government, health research and the health care sector in Ontario, Canada and internationally. In particular ONF supports knowledge-sharing about research outcomes and evidence-informed practices in the areas of:

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)

An acquired brain injury is damage to the brain that occurs after birth from a traumatic or non-traumatic event. ABI is not related to a congenital disorder or degenerative disease, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s Disease.

ABI can be either traumatic or non-traumatic.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is damage to the brain caused by a traumatic event such as a blow to the head, a fall, a motor vehicle or sports related injury.

Non-traumatic brain injury (nTBI) is damage to the brain caused by illness such as meningitis or encephalitis, oxygen deprivation (anoxia) or stroke.

Definitions retrieved from Ontario Brain Injury Association (2020). The ABCs of Brain Injury.

The Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation ABI program focuses on:

  • Concussion/Mild TBI: improving diagnosis, management and consistency of care
  • Moderate to severe ABI: addressing acute care, rehabilitation and community participation
  • Systematic Reviews, Guidelines and Measurement: influencing standardized care through systematic reviews, development of guidelines and evaluations
  • Best Practice Implementation: ensuring that research outcomes are reflected in practice and policy
  • Strategic Research: supporting targeted ABI research in partnership with other funders

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

A spinal cord injury (SCI) is a traumatic injury to the spinal cord that leads to varying degrees of motor and/or sensory deficits and paralysis. It can happen to anyone in an instant – a teenager diving into a lake while on a summer holiday, a farmer working outside doing everyday chores or a mother involved in a car collision on a slippery winter day.

In Canada there are over 40,000 people living with traumatic spinal cord injuries, and there are on average 1,500 new cases each year. One thing is for certain: when you sustain a spinal cord injury, your life will change dramatically and forever.

Improving quality of life

The ONF SCI Program supports research, knowledge mobilization and implementation designed to enhance the quality of life of individuals living with SCI across the continuum, from pre-hospital care, acute care and rehabilitation to community living.

The ONF SCI Program funds translational research, knowledge mobilization and implementation initiatives that improve clinical practice and inform policy. To achieve this, ONF partners with other networks and research organizations with similar mandates, provincially, nationally and internationally.

The Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation SCI program focuses on:

  • Primary Care: to improve access to family physicians and primary health professionals
  • Secondary Health Complications: for treatment and prevention of pressure ulcers, pain, etc.
  • Clinical Trials: to improve treatment and outcomes
  • Data Registry: for information gathering and analysis
  • Ontario Spinal Cord Injury Research Network: bringing together researchers, health care professionals and stakeholders from across the continuum of SCI care and service delivery
  • Development of Guidelines and Resources: such as best practice guidelines and online resources
  • Best Practice Implementation: to ensure that research moves into practice and policy
  • Partnerships: working with strategic partners to ensure resources are aligned and shared


More than 260,000 Canadians were hospitalized for injury or trauma in 2016-2017 according to data released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). Parachute Canada has reported that preventable injuries leave more than 60,000 Canadians either partially of permanently disabled each year.

Neurotrauma injuries lead to great social and personal costs; yet, the vast majority of these injuries are preventable.

Of those hospitalized for injury and trauma, more than half are due to unintentional falls. Falls are a leading cause of injury across the lifespan, particularly among children and those over the age of 65. In fact, 4 out of 5 injury hospitalizations involving older adults are a result of a fall. Falls attribute to 42 percent of all injury-related hospitalizations in children (Parachute, 2015). Falls cost the society approximately $8.7 billion a year in Canada – $2.8 billion of this cost occurs in Ontario (Parachute, 2015).

The good news is that irrespective of the alarming toll on human life and economic costs, most injuries in Canada are both predictable and preventable – falls, specifically are a leading cause of preventable injury.

Preventing neurotrauma injuries is a top priority of ONF

It is vital to understand more about how neurotrauma injuries occur in everyday life in order to devise strategies to prevent them. We must also understand how the results of ONF research can be translated into effective prevention practices and policies.

Given the prevalence of falls among children and older adults, ONF’s current priority is to identify and implement new research and knowledge exchange initiatives that will lead to implementation of evidence-based practice in these populations.

The Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation Prevention Program focuses on:

  • The Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation Prevention Program focuses on:  
  • Communities of Practice: building national bilingual networks committed to knowledge sharing and exchange around fall prevention in children and adults;
  • Fall Prevention Month: sustaining the national bilingual campaign as a call to action for practitioners, organizations and groups to organize fall prevention activities during the month of November;  
  • Provincial Collaborations: ensuring province-wide, evidence-based systems approaches are implemented to prevent falls in older adults;
  • Best Practice Implementation: to ensure that research moves into practice and policy;
  • Partnerships: working with strategic partners to ensure resources are aligned and shared for a greater impact.
CORPORATE ANNOUNCEMENT – February 2021(Click to learn more)