Injury is a serious public health issue with a major impact on the lives of Canadians. It is the leading cause of death of children and young adults and is among the leading causes of hospitalization for children, young adults and seniors. Injury is also a major cause of long and short-term impairment and disability for Canadians. (Source: "Injury Surveillance in Canada: Current Realities, Challenges" Health Canada 2003)
An injury is the physical damage that results when the body is suddenly subjected to levels of energy beyond the body's ability to absorb, or the result of a lack of vital elements such as air, water or warmth.
Injuries can be either intentional or unintentional:
Injuries differ from other diseases in that they have an immediate onset. An individual goes from being perfectly healthy one minute and seconds later is injured, disabled or fatally wounded. You may know injuries as "accidents," but injuries are preventable. The term "accident" is misleading as it suggests nothing could have been done.
Health Canada works with partners across Canada including the Public Health Agency of Canada, public health units, hospitals, academic institutions, law enforcement and not-for-profit and voluntary organizations dedicated to safety promotion and injury prevention. Health Canada is involved in various aspects of injury prevention and safety promotion such as:
Once an injury occurs, it is usually the health system that is involved in treatment and rehabilitation. But safety and injury prevention is applicable in every aspect of our lives; at home, at work, on our roads, in our playgrounds and sport facilities and in our natural environments.