About Us

What Does Tetra Do?

At Tetra, our focus is to find solutions to environmental barriers faced by people with disabilities. While these environmental barriers are a part of a person’s journey, we believe Tetra solutions help foster greater independence, quality of life, and inclusion.

How Tetra Works

Tetra recruits volunteers who work with clients to design and build assistive devices that are custom-made for the individual – these are devices that are either not available commercially or cost-prohibitive. As a non-profit organization, Tetra raises funds to deliver this program, including covering the costs of volunteer travel and materials for devices up to $500 per project.

The scope of Tetra projects is just as diverse as the clients we work with. The work Tetra does addresses needs in different areas of a person’s life.

Independent Living

Tetra’s core focus is to address barriers that affect a person’s ability to live life independently due to obstacles in their environment. One of Tetra’s founding principles is that people are not marginalized by their disability, but by obstacles in their environment. Tetra works to reduce or eliminate these obstacles. Over the past 30+ years, Tetra volunteers have built devices that support:

  • Communication
  • Eating and drinking
  • Completing household chores and personal care
  • Mobility

Vocational Assistance

People with disabilities have the skills and knowledge to attend school and enter the workforce but often encounter obstacles which may seem insurmountable but can be reduced or eliminated through workplace modifications or through the construction of custom assistive devices. Since 1987, Tetra volunteers have been creating devices and workplace modifications that meet this need as people pursue educational and employment goals, self-sufficiency, and contribution to their community.


Recreational activities are an essential part of life and people with disabilities can face barriers that limit their ability to participate. Tetra volunteers are skilled at creating assistive devices that specifically promote participation in sport and leisure activities. Over the years, volunteers have designed and created devices that address an interest in in:

  • Golfing
  • Fishing
  • Painting
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Play adaptive sports like bumper soccer, sledge hockey, and boccia

Ultimately, we envision a world where people with physical disabilities feel empowered and inspired to re-imagine what’s possible. This is achieved by doing things – accessing opportunities.

Have you identified a challenge that you or a cared one wants to overcome? Contact us either through your local coordinator or directly at head office

Our History

Tetra was founded with the will of one individual, Sam Sullivan, who was determined to increase his own independence after becoming quadriplegic. With the help of a compassionate volunteer, Paul Cermak, who devised simple modifications that revolutionized Sam’s apartment, the sense of empowerment that fuels Tetra Society of North America began. 

While Sam went on to become mayor of Vancouver and is now a BC Liberal MLA, Tetra has grown to 27 local chapters providing customized solutions to over 40 communities across Canada and the United States. Each year, more than 200 Tetra volunteers design and build hundreds of custom assistive devices.