Case and rates of injury in Canada, 2018

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In 2018, injuries resulted in more than:

  • 17,000 deaths
  • 61,000 disabilities
  • 230,000 hospitalizations
  • 4.6 million emergency department (ED) visits

Each of these cases represents a person whose life was impacted or taken by injury. The human costs of injury are both physical and emotional, and are felt by individuals, families, communities and society as a whole.

Intent of injury

Unintentional injuries account for the majority of injury cases:

  • 75 per cent of deaths
  • 89 per cent of hospitalizations
  • 95 per cent of ED visits
  • 90 per cent of disabilities.

Those aged 85 and older have the highest rate across all injury outcomes.

Cause of injury

For all ages combined, falls were the leading cause of injury deaths, followed by suicide/self-harm, unintentional poisoning and transport incidents. Falls were also the leading cause of hospitalizations, followed by transport incidents, suicide/self-harm and unintentional poisoning.

The leading causes of injury vary when examined by age group. For example, for children up to age four, transport incidents and drowning were top causes of death and falls and unintentional poisoning were the leading causes of hospitalization.

Potential years of life lost

The total of 333,791 Potential Years of Life Lost (PYLL) due to injury emphasize the immense loss of life and potential when injuries kill people at a young age. It reflects the fact that injury is the leading cause of death for people ages one to 44 in Canada (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2019).

The injury death rate was 47.15 per 100,000 in 2018. This means for every 100,000 people in Canada, 47 people died from an injury.

For unintentional injuries, the highest death rate was among those aged 75 and older. The exception was unintentional poisoning, where the death rate peaked in the 35-to-39 age group. For inflicted injuries, the death rate was highest among 50- to 55-year-olds, followed by 20- to 24-year-olds.

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