Intentional and unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for Albertans between the ages of 1 and 44 and cost the province nearly $3 billion each year.
Many of these injuries result from falls, self-harm and suicide, poisoning and motor vehicle-related accidents—and a great number are preventable.
“Our vision is to see Albertans work and play hard, free from life-limiting injuries,” says Don Voaklander, director of the Injury Prevention Centre (formerly the Alberta Centre for Injury Control and Research).
Since 1998, the Centre has worked with academics, practitioners, communities and governments to make Alberta a safer place to live and work. Through injury surveillance, evaluation, policy development and public education, the Centre acts as a catalyst for action by supporting communities and decision makers with knowledge and tools.
One area of focus is farm safety. For years, Voaklander and his staff at the Centre have been collecting data on injuries and deaths on Albertan farms and lobbying the provincial government for legislative action. In 2015, their efforts bore fruit with the passage of Bill 6, the Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act.
In addition to farm safety, the Centre has focused on: changing the Albertan culture of safety and risk; assessing injures among the Métis people of Alberta in partnership with the Métis Nations of Alberta; suicide prevention webinars; promoting physical activity in seniors and preventing falls; administering the Community Injury Control Grant to support community initiatives in injury prevention; and many other activities related to traffic safety, sport injury and concussion, and poisoning in children.
The Injury Prevention Centre is sustained by grants and contracts, especially from Alberta Health, and donations.