Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating event causing lifelong disability that results in a significant decrease in quality of life and immense cost to the health care system, individuals and their families. Providing specialized and timely care can improve recovery and reduce costs, but to make this a reality requires understanding of the current care delivery processes and the care journey. The objective of this focus issue is to examine the current state of health care delivery and discover opportunities to improve access and timing to specialized care for individuals with tSCI. This issue provides an overview of care throughout the SCI continuum and its impact on individuals with tSCI using pan-Canadian data. The issue also presents findings from the RHI Access to Care and Timing (ACT) Project, a multi-center research study involving a multi-disciplinary team of Canadian researchers and clinicians. The initial articles describe the current state of the tSCI care journey including a comparison of environmental barriers, health status, and quality-of-life outcomes between patients living in rural and urban settings. The issue concludes with an article describing the national knowledge translation efforts of using the evidence from the articles published here to inform practice and policy change. Overall, this focus issue will be an excellent reference to guide and optimize evidence informed decision-making in the care of those with tSCI. The evidence can be transferred to care in non-traumatic SCI and other conditions that benefit from timely access to specialized care such as stroke and traumatic brain injury.