Scott A. Brison was born in Windsor, Nova Scotia, the son of Verna Patricia (née Salter) and Clifford Brison, who ran a grocery store. He obtained a Bachelor of Commerce from Dalhousie University. While there, he started and operated a successful business renting small fridges – he has jokingly referred to himself as a "fridge magnate", then worked in corporate sales for ten years.

Brison came out as gay in 2002, saying that he is "not a gay politician, but a politician who happens to be gay."[10] He became the fourth sitting Member of Parliament to do so after Svend Robinson, Réal Ménard, and Libby Davies. As well, he was the first openly gay MP to sit as a member of the Progressive Conservative Party.

December 11, 2003 Chronicle Herald article about him recalls an encounter between Brison and rabid conservative Elsie Wayne in the spring, where (after she peeked at his day planner and saw a meeting between him and with a former Liberal MP) he said she was a "vile cow" who should "use her pea-sized brain before she opens her garbage-can-sized mouth."

In October, 2005 Brison announced that he and his partner Maxime Saint-Pierre, an investment advisor with RBC Dominion Securities, intended to marry. They were married on August 18, 2007 in Brison's riding. Their daughters, Claire Brison-St. Pierre and Rose Brison-St. Pierre, were born via a surrogate mother on February 21, 2014.

In December, 2019 DalhousieUniversity announced that he would become the university’s eighth chancellor, the titular head of the university, carrying out the ceremonial and official duties. The position is a voluntary one and serving as the Chancellor constitutes significant public service.