Developing Injury Prevention Indicators for First Nations Children & Youth in Canada


Injury affects First Nations people at a much higher rate than other Canadians. It is the leading cause of death for Aboriginal children, youth, and young adults in Canada. The injury rates among Aboriginal teens are almost four times those of Canadians overall, and First Nations male and female youth are, respectively, five to seven times more likely to die of suicide than their peers in other populations (SMARTRISK, 2005).

In 2004, the Canadian Child and Youth Health Coalition (CCYHC) set out injury prevention/ trauma as one of four theme areas to establish Canadian Infant, Child and Youth Health Indicators. Their goal was “to identify existing indicators and develop new indicators that will be used to monitor and evaluate the health of, and the health services provided to, infants, children, youth and their families.” The aim was “to improve services and, thereby, the health and well‐being of infants, children, youth and their families” (National Child and Youth Health Coalition, 2004).

In 2007, a First Nations and Inuit Children and Youth Injury Indicators Project Task Group was established to begin a parallel process of developing injury indicators for First Nations and Inuit children and youth. The group included 19 participants from the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), SMARTRISK, CHEO’s Injury Prevention Program Plan‐It‐ Safe, Katenies Research and Management Services (KRMS), Statistics Canada, Nunatsiavut Department of Health and Social Development, and Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada (PIWC).

This report documents the work of the Task Group in developing a list of indicators, and clearly illustrates the needs of those working to prevent injuries among First Nations children and youth. Several next steps are required, including: continued work with partners in First Nations communities and government organizations to ensure the proposed indicators meet their needs; organizing data and information to be included in each indicator; and developing a ‘dashboard’ or display that will make the information accessible to those who need it.

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