News Release: Harper Government builds new partnerships to raise awareness about injury prevention
Injury is the leading cause of death for Canadians aged one to 44. In 2009, the direct and indirect cost of both intentional and unintentional injury in Canada was estimated at $19.8 billion. Of that, $16 billion was attributed to unintentional injury and more than $3 billion to intentional injuries such as suicide, self-harm and violence.
Injury is defined as any unintentional or intentional physical damage to the body. Common unintentional injuries include motor vehicle crashes, falls, and unintentional poisoning.
The frequency, severity and significant economic costs involved make injury an important public health issue. Injury is also a concern from a health equity perspective: the burden of injury is higher for vulnerable groups such as children, youth, seniors, Aboriginal people, new Canadians and those of low socioeconomic status.
The Health Portfolio addresses injury through activities that include:
- Surveillance of injury risks, trends, and patterns, (e.g.: Child and Youth Injury in Review reports);
- Sharing of best practices in injury prevention;
- Funding injury prevention awareness and education programming (e.g.: Active and Safe, Aboriginal Head Start, Canadian Prenatal Nutrition Program, Community Action Program for Children);
- Drug safety and prevention of substance abuse; and
- Injury Research (e.g.: CIHR Team Grant in Child and Youth Injury Prevention)
The Public Health Agency of Canada also contributes to prevention of intentional injury, by coordinating the interdepartmental Family Violence Initiative and promoting healthy relationships and resilience through programming aimed at vulnerable children and their families. In addition, the Agency is developing a Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention (a legislated requirement), and leading work in surveillance of suicides in Canada.
Health Canada is helping to prevent injury through collaboration with industry, retail groups and consumer associations to develop better product safety standards and regulations related to the manufacture and use of products used by infants and children, corded window coverings and many other consumer products.
In 2011, Health Canada modernized its consumer product safety regime by introducing the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act. This new Act gives the Government of Canada stronger and more modern legislative powers to protect Canadians from a consumer product that is a danger to human health and safety.