Below is a summary of facts about drowning deaths in Canada. The statistics are from data compiled from the Chief Coroner’s Offices in all provinces. The year 2006 is the most recent year for which data is available.

In Canada:

  • Nearly 500 people die every year in water-related incidents
    • In 2006 508 people drowned in Canada
  • Drowning deaths decreased for children from 0-17 years of age, but increased for adults 18-34 and adults 50-64
    • The highest increase in drownings was among 50-64 year olds. Adults 18-34 had the next highest drowning increase
  • Drowning is the second leading cause of preventable death for children under 10 years of age
  • 61 per cent of drownings occur in lakes, ponds, rivers, streams and waterfalls
  • 6 per cent of all drowning deaths (32 total) occurred in private pools
  • 57 per cent of drowning deaths occur while participating in aquatic activities such as swimming or boating
  • 58 per cent of drowning deaths occurred while the victims were engaged in recreational activities
  • Of the total number of drowning deaths, 85 per cent were amongst males and 15 per cent were amongst females

National Water Related Fatalities

Province

Total #

Percentage of total

Newfoundland & Labrador

28

6%

Nova Scotia

16

3%

Prince Edward Island

4

1%

New Brunswick

10

2%

Quebec

83

16%

Ontario

182

36%

Manitoba

19

4%

Saskatchewan

18

4%

Alberta

43

8%

British Columbia

84

17%

Northwest Territories

12

2%

Nunavut

5

1%

Yukon Territory

3

TOTAL

508

100%

Drowning can occur very quickly, in as little as 10 seconds, and is often silent. The Lifesaving Society offers these drowning prevention tips:

  • Restrict and control access to the water. Enclose backyard pools on all four sides with a fence and a self-latching, self-closing gate; drain bathtubs when not in use; empty unattended wading pools and buckets.
  • Wear a lifejacket when boating. Toddlers should wear a lifejacket anytime they are near water.
  • Don’t drink and drive your boat.
  • Stay within arms’ reach of young children when they are near water – in the backyard, the beach and in the bathroom.
  • Go to lifeguard-supervised beaches and pools.
  • Learn to swim. Enroll children in swimming lessons and in a swimming survival program such as the Lifesaving Society’s Swim to Survive.
  • In the winter, check ice before going out on it – clear, hard, new ice is the safest for travel. Avoid slushy or moving ice and ice that has thawed and refrozen.

About the Lifesaving Society:

The Lifesaving Society is a full-service provider of programs, products and services designed to prevent drowning. We save lives and prevent water-related injury through our training programs, Water Smart ® public education, water-incident research, aquatic safety management and lifesaving sport. Each year in Canada, more than 700,000 Canadians participate in the Society’s swimming, lifesaving, lifeguard, first aid and leadership programs. For more information, please visit www.lifesavingsociety.com.

For more information or to book an interview with Barbara Byers, please contact:

Karen Krugel
PraxisPR
905-949-8255 ext. 233
416-559-9200 (cell)
karen@praxispr.ca
Nichola Rochon
PraxisPR
905-949-8255 ext. 231
416-460-3159 (cell)
nichola@praxispr.ca
Barbara Byers
The Lifesaving Society
416-490-8844
416-727-5636 (cell)
barbarab@lifeguarding.com