Canadian Spine Society's President's Message

I am honored to represent our national Spine Society and grateful to follow in the footsteps of many of Canada’s greatest spinal surgeons.  Over the past 20 years the Canadian Spine Society (CSS) has represented both orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons who share a special interest in spinal surgery.  Together, through a combination of patient advocacy, surgical outcome research and educating the next generation of Canadian spine surgeons, we have attempted to improve patient care across the country.  We highlight these efforts at our Annual Scientific Conference, which I am proud to say is one of the best spine meetings in the world.  It is an event that brings together not only the members of the Canadian Spine Society but those of the Canadian Pediatric Spine Society and guests from spine societies around the world.

Over the past 20 years the CSS has collaborated in several provincial projects to streamline patient triage and surgical referral.  Programs such as Ontario’s ISAEC clinics, Saskatchewan’s Spine Pathway and BC’s Rapid Access Physiotherapy initiative have all begun because of the efforts of Canadian Spine Society members.  These unique programs have improved access to appropriate treatment for patients with spinal conditions.  The Canadian Spine Society continues to work with government, hospitals, industry partners and other medical and surgical societies to reduce wait times, enhance the suitability of surgical referrals and improve the quality of operative care.

The Canadian Spine Research & Education Fund (CSREF) was created over a decade ago to fund research and educational efforts that maximize patient benefits.  The CSREF continues to receive donations and strong support from CSS members, our industry partners and the general public.  One of the principal beneficiaries of the CSREF money is the Canadian Spine Outcomes and Research Network (CSORN).  Taking advantage of Canada’s single payer/publicly funded health care system, CSORN brings together a network of like-minded spine surgeons in centers from coast to coast to address key questions about managing spinal pathology.  CSS members are conducting multicenter prospectively controlled trials across Canada and are publishing results with  influence around the world.

Up to now the surgical members of our society have been graduates of either orthopaedic or neurosurgical training.  Advances in operative technique have led to a convergence of the necessary surgical skills as well as to increasing sub-specialisation.  With increasing frequency, our members have gone from their area of basic training to fellowships in complex spine care that include mastering procedures traditionally performed by the other speciality.  As a result, our society has been working diligently to develop a combined training pathway for spine surgeons including spine fellowship training guidelines and, more recently, with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada to create an Area of Focused Competency (AFC) diploma in spine surgery.

Our society will continue to collaborate with the Royal College on the AFC program.  I anticipate we will engage with Canadian fellowship training programs to bring an official designation to our surgical subspecialty, one both orthopaedic and neurosurgeons have been refining for the many years.

Our society would not exist without the endless work of our dedicated members.  A specific thank you to Dr. Albert Yee who led our society through the challenges of the early months of the pandemic and still managed to champion a SWOT process to guide our society for the coming years.  Dr. John Street and Dr. Raphaele Charest-Morin led our scientific program and ensured this year’s transition to an online platform that gave our annual society meeting a unique and engaging format.  Dr. Charles Fisher and Greg McIntosh continue to push CSORN forward into new research while Drs. Abraham and Fox ensure the CSREF makes that research possible.

Finally, I acknowledge the ongoing efforts of Dr. Hamilton Hall our Executive Director, Ms. Jennifer Edwards our Director of Operations, and the CSS office in keeping us on track with their constant vision and focus on the future – while making it all look easy.

Respectfully submitted,

Scott Paquette
President of the Canadian Spine Society


Past CSS Presidents

CSS President – Albert Yee 2019 – 2021
CSS President – Sean Christie, 2017 – 2019
CSS President – Peter Jarzem, 2015 – 2017
CSS President – Charles Fisher, 2013 – 2015
CSS President – Robert Broad, 2011 – 2013
CSS President – Raj Rampersaud, 2009 – 2011
CSS President – Daryl Fourney, 2007 – 2009
CSS President – Michael Ford, 2006
CSS President – Edward Abraham, 2005
CSS President – Richard Fox, 2004
CSS President – Stewart Bailey, 2003 CSS President – John Hurlbert, 2000 – 2002