Go to content

Someone visits an ED for injury every 30 seconds in Ontario, ICES study finds


In the time it takes to read this page, at least three or four people in Ontario will go to an Emergency Department (ED) as a result of an injury. This and many other important findings were released today in a new report from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) looking at injury-related ED visits and hospital use across the province.

“Injuries remain the leading cause of death among young people in Canada and a heavy burden for the healthcare system, despite the fact that many injuries are predictable and preventable,” said report co-author and ICES scientist Dr. Michael Schull.

The ICES Research Atlas “Injuries in Ontario” examined a variety of issues related to injuries between April 2002 and March 2003, including: the number of ED visits and admissions to hospital due to injuries; the most common types of injuries; variations in injuries based on gender, socioeconomic status (SES) and geographical location; frequency of injuries by month or day of the week; and, the proportion of injuries that are self-inflicted or related to an assault.


  • On average, someone visits an ED about every 30 seconds and someone is hospitalized about every 10 minutes in Ontario due to an injury, translating into more than 1.2 million injury-related ED visits and over 62,000 injury-related hospitalizations during the one-year study period;
  • ED visits for injuries are highest on Mondays and peak during the summer months;
  • The rate of injury is highest among people aged 15-24 years and those over 65, compared to other age groups;
  • Men are 1.5 times more likely to be injured than women;
  • Children and young adults in the lowest income areas are 40% more likely to be injured than those in the highest income areas;
  • Rural areas have injury rates over 1.5 times higher than urban areas;
  • Falls are the most common cause of injury regardless of age, resulting in more than one-quarter of all injury-related ED visits;
  • The number of injuries classified as self-inflicted is highest in 15-19 year-olds, with poisoning being by far the most common cause of self-inflicted injury seen in EDs, regardless of age; and,
  • The proportion of injuries classified as assault-related is highest in young adults (e.g., 6.7% of injuries among 15-24 year-olds, compared to 1.7% of injuries among 25-35 year-olds).

“The greatest potential for injury prevention appears to lie largely outside the healthcare system,” said report lead author and ICES adjunct scientist Dr. Alison Macpherson. “For example, bicycle helmets can be effective in reducing head injuries among cyclists, pool fencing can reduce drowning, and graduated licensing can reduce motor vehicle crashes.”

“Although there’s no doubt that a comprehensive population-based approach is needed to help improve awareness of how to prevent injuries, our report also highlights the fact that prevention strategies targeted toward specific high-risk populations are just as important to lessen the alarmingly high numbers of people who are injured each year in Ontario,” said Dr. Macpherson.

ICES is an independent, non-profit organization that uses population-based health information to produce knowledge on a broad range of healthcare issues. Our unbiased evidence provides measures of health system performance, a clearer understanding of the shifting healthcare needs of Ontarians, and a stimulus for discussion of practical solutions to optimize scarce resources. ICES knowledge is highly regarded in Canada and abroad, and is widely used by government, hospitals, planners, and practitioners to make decisions about care delivery and to develop policy.


  • Julie Argles
  • Media Relations Officer, ICES
  • (416) 480-4780 or cell (416) 432-8143


Contributing ICES Scientists

Research Programs

Associated Sites

Read the Journal Article