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Injury Prevention


A. Introduction

With the increasing recognition of injury as a major health problem throughout the western world, programs and organizations devoted to injury prevention have proliferated. Since its inception in l994, the Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre (OIPRC) has worked closely with communities throughout Ontario to address key issues related to implementing injury prevention programs, policies and strategies.

The Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre is one of several resource-centered projects of the Ontario Public Health Association (OPHA). The OPHA was initially contracted by the Ontario Ministry of Health, Emergency Health Services Branch in l991 to focus on a literature and data review of the incidence of injury statistics in Ontario. An injury prevention consultation took place in March l992. A report, Priority Themes for Injury Prevention in Ontario, was published and distributed. This review and consultation led to a consensus about the four main injury prevention themes -

1) Prevention of cyclist injuries in the 5-15 year age group;

2) Prevention of injuries to motor vehicle occupants in the 16-24 year age group;

3) Prevention of injury to motor vehicle occupants in all age groups with emphasis on proper seat restraint and impaired driving;

4) Prevention of falls in the elderly population.

A series of accessible, easy-to-read community mobilization manuals, Community Action and Injury Prevention, was subsequently written and produced to assist communities to plan and implement a theme focused injury prevention strategy.

Community Injury Prevention Grants Program

In l995 the first Community Injury Prevention Grants Program was established in Ontario. A total of 52 community grants were awarded and the Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre published a profile of these projects entitled, Profile of Community Projects l995-96.


The Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre, in partnership with the Ontario Community Councils of Impaired Driving, Community Safety Councils of Ontario and SMARTRISK, co-host an annual Injury Prevention/Impaired Driving Conference. The ongoing theme for this venue is Manage the Energy. The l999 Manage the Energy 3 Conference will be held on February 21-23 at the Inn on the Park, Toronto. This conference has in excess of 275 registrants from all parts of Ontario and is supported financially by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Transportation.

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The Best Practice Programs for Injury Prevention was produced in l996 to identify published studies of injury prevention programs which yielded positive outcomes and which had been formally evaluated and found to achieve successful results.

World Wide Resources: Injury Prevention Programs and Materials from Canadian & International Agencies, produced in l998, is a first attempt to present information about available Internet sites and an array of programs reflected in our database.

Annually, in conjunction with the Alcohol Policy Network (another OPHA Project), a Directory of Substance Abuse & Injury Prevention Contacts in Public Health is published with the purpose of identifying the activity in substance abuse and injury prevention being undertaken at the local levels.

The Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre publishes a newsletter, Injury Prevention News, 10 times per year. This one page document has a readership of approximately 1500 individuals throughout Ontario with an extended circulation to other provinces and countries.

The Costs of Injury in Canada

In l998 a study to determine the costs of injury in Canada was undertaken by SMARTRISK with distribution support in Ontario from the OIPRC. This document, "The Economic Burden of Unintentional Injury in Canada", provides valuable information on the costs of injury in Canada

It was reported that injuries cost Canadians $8.7 billion and unintentional falls account for direct and indirect costs of $3.6 billion or over 40% of the total amount. Motor vehicle crashes cost almost $1.7 billion or 20%. The remaining 40 percent of total costs can be attributed to a combination of costs incurred by drowning, poisoning, fires and a range of other injuries not specified by hospital classification system. On average, each injury generates $4,000 in direct and indirect costs.

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In March l998, the OIPRC released, The Review of Priority Themes for Injury Prevention in Ontario. This document provides a comparison to the l992 study which resulted in the determination of the priority themes for injury prevention in Ontario. The findings included a marked decrease in the crash involvement rate for every age from 16-24 from l993 to l995 with the most significant reduction occurring among 16 year olds. Passenger seat restraint compliance for all age groups were substantially improved with the most marked in the 16-22 age group. There was a 44% decreased in the proportion of crash-involved drivers who had been drinking, from l984 to l995. In 1995 drinking and driving rates for the 16-18 age group declined and for the first time rates for this group were lower than the total population. In l995, 28% of drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes in Ontario had blood alcohol levels over the legal limit. This is the lowest percentage recorded in Ontario and represents an 8% reduction from the l994 findings. The number of head and spinal injuries resulting from all bicycle crashes in Ontario decreased 53% between l991 and l993.

The findings of this report also indicated that for those over age 65, the number of hospital admission for falls increased by 31% from l986 to l995. Falls in the elderly population will be a focus of attention by the OIPRC in the future.

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For further information or to receive documents produced by the Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre, please call 416-367-3313 ext 25 or 1-800-267-681; E-mail; Internet: http:/

Submitted by: Bev Woods.