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Economic Impact of Injury

The economic impact of injuries is significant, especially since many are preventable. In assessing the effect of injury on society, research has been done to estimate the cost of injuries and the related societal burden.  For Canadians, the estimated total annual cost of unintentional injuries is calculated at $8.7 billion or $300 per citizen. This figure takes into account hospitalized injuries, non-hospitalized injuries, and related deaths and disability [3].

Violence against women cuts across: class, education level, race, ability, sexual orientation, income level and effects us all. The costs are personal, social and economic and are paid by individuals and society.  Injuries of this sort are often unrecognized and underreported for these reasons estimates of costs are partial and conservative at best. In 1995 one report estimated total cost of violence against Canadian women to be $ 4,225,954,322.  This includes costs related to social services/education, criminal justice, labour/employment, and direct medical care costs of $408,357,042.[6]


The cost of injuries still disproportionately affects males. Data from the National Trauma Registry [1]. indicates that roughly:

  • 70% of all documented major injuries are male

  • 70% of people dying from major injury are male

  • 90% of those suffering intentional injuries such as homicide and injury deliberately inflicted by another person are male (with a mean age of 31 years)

  • 70% of completed suicides are males (Suicide is the eleventh leading cause of death overall in Canada)

and internationally:

boys are 70% more likely than girls to die from injuries [4] in the 30 affluent industrialized nations of the OECD.[8]


1.What are the underlying biological (sex) factors for this trend that finds more males involved in both intentional and unintentional injuries?
2.What are the underlying social/behavioural (gender) factors for this trend? Can you suggest factors that may lead to a higher proportion of males injured?

Throughout this module we will try to examine the social context that predisposes males to be the principal victims of injury and predisposes women to be victims of intimate partner violence and sexual crimes. As we move through the module you may think of reasons which can be added to the list above.

How might we approach addressing the cause of injury in a way that will lead to injury prevention? Later, we will discuss the scientific approach to injury. First, we will look at a history of traumatic injury.


1. CIHI (2005). 2004 Report: Major Injury in Canada, Canadian Institute for Health Information.

3. Angus, D.E. (1998). The Economic Burden of Unintentional Injury in Canada. Kingston, Ontario, SMARTRISK.

4. UNICEF (2001). A League Table of Child Deaths by Injury in Rich Nations. Florence, Italy, United Nations Children's Fund.

6. Greaves L, Hankivsky O, Kingston-Riechers J. Selected Estimates of the Costs of Violence Against Women. Centre for Research on Violence Against Women and Children, London, Ontario 1995 accessed April 23, 2006

8. OECD is the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development represents 30 member countries sharing a commitment to democratic government and the market economy.,2337,en_2649_201185_1_1_1_1_1,00.html

All references for this section