The Canadian Burn Survivors Community was officially established in 2008 by a dedicated group of burn survivors, caregivers, burn unit staff members and firefighters from across the country.
Prior to this, the Mamingwey Burn Survivor Society, a burn support organization in Manitoba, planned and hosted a 3-and-a-half-day conference for burn survivors. They called it the first ever Canadian Burn Survivors Conference. They wanted to ensure that people affected by burns from across the country would have an opportunity to attend and participate, so they took the initiative to notify other burn support organizations about their conference. They reached out to support organizations in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. This conference took place in May of 2005 and was attended by over 150 people. Almost a third of those in attendance came from outside the province of Manitoba, and the Mamingwey group considered this event to be a great success.
The Nova Scotia Firefighters Burn Treatment Society had sent several survivors and firefighters to the inaugural conference in Manitoba, and they then took the initiative to host the next Canadian conference. In 2006, the second annual Canadian Burn Survivors conference took place in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Again, over a hundred survivors, family members, burn unit staff members and firefighters attended and bonded over the 3-and-a-half-day conference. Attendees felt that this was ‘something’, and clearly there was a need for an umbrella organization that could serve to connect all the individual support organizations across Canada, unite them while acting as a conduit for information, and take responsibility for ensuring future burn survivor conferences would take place in Canada.
At the Phoenix Society’s World Burn Congress, held in 2007 in Vancouver BC, a meeting of all interested Canadians took place, and the decision was finalized to start an umbrella burn support organization in Canada. It was also decided that Canadian conferences should take place every second year. To that end, the CBSC was born with a steering committee of 8 individuals who undertook the work of setting up the organization.
Since then, conferences have happened across the country in every even year (Toronto in 2008, Winnipeg in 2010, Calgary in 2012, Victoria in 2014, Winnipeg in 2016, Halifax in 2018, and the Vancouver conference planned for 2020 were cancelled due to COVID-19). We have a website and communicate with provincial burn support organizations regularly. The CBSC has been putting out a quarterly newsletter since 2018; it is distributed electronically to over 400 people. We have also been offering on-line support groups every second Wednesday since March of 2020. We hosted our first ever virtual conference in September of 2021 and hope to offer this type of support twice a year going forward.
The Canadian Burn Survivors Community is proudly run by volunteers only and has stuck with its original mandate, to offer support to anyone affected by a burn injury in Canada. We are a proud affiliate member organization of the Canadian Skin Patient Alliance, and we are also a member organization of Face Equality International.