Centre for Injury Prevention
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Why Injury Prevention Matters

Intentional and unintentional injuries are a leading cause of hospitalization, disability and death in Canada. Injuries are the leading cause of death for Canadians under the age of 45 years, ahead of cancer and heart disease. The economic burden of injury in Canada is estimated at $29.4B annually including direct and indirect costs.

Injuries are the result of a chain of actions that can be interrupted to prevent or minimize the damage. Injury prevention is a process that is requires a good understanding of the frequency of an injury type across a population, the mechanism of injury and consideration for possible mitigating strategies. Injury is not experienced equally and some groups are at higher risk for some injuries. Injury risk is influenced by the social determinants of health and systemic oppression.

Injury prevention work is global and complex. There are groups that work on specific injury issues like falls or violence, while others that work on age groups like seniors or children. Some injury prevention work happens locally with groups within a community or across lager populations provincially or nationally. Some work focuses on individual level interventions (e.g. seatbelts) while others focus on environmental interventions (e.g. road design or fines for speeding). Upstream prevention efforts that work to eliminate the injury risk before it occurs are proven to be more effective and cost-efficient than downstream efforts after the injury.

Injury prevention matters because the experience of injury is physically, mentally and spiritually traumatic. No one should experience a life altering or ending injury that could have been prevented.

In Canada, preventable injuries result in:

  • 17,475 deaths
  • 231,530 Canadians hospitalized
  • 5 million emergency room visits
  • More than 61,000 Canadians either partially or permanently disabled
  • $20.4 billion in direct health care costs
  • $29.4 billion in total economic costs

Parachute. (2021). The Cost of Injury in Canada 2021. Parachute: Toronto, ON