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PW 1103 Collaborating to create the first canadian drowning prevention plan
  1. Tessa Clemens,
  2. Stephen Beerman


Background Drowning is a multi-sectoral issue that benefits from collaboration with stakeholders to understand the burden and reduce drowning risks. The World Health Organization recommends drowning prevention efforts be coordinated to develop a national water safety plan. Canadian drowning mortality data is mature and was suitable evidence for key focus targets selection.

Objective To establish and implement a long-term multi-sectoral plan to reduce drowning in Canada.

Methods The Canadian Drowning Prevention Coalition (CDPC) was formed to be a leadership partner in the Canadian drowning prevention effort. The CDPC participants are stakeholders from government, non-government organizations, academia, industry, citizen groups, media, and others. The CDPC is led by a Steering Committee. The Steering Committee establishes and implement a national plan that is consistent with the WHO Global Report on Drowning. Technical Working Groups scope knowledge and create recommendations for high impact actions in the key focus targets for drowning prevention in Canada.

Findings A situational assessment of drowning burden in Canada and a civic engagement activity to prioritize drowning issues revealed the following eight key focus targets for the first edition of the Plan: (1) children 1–4 years of age; (2) new Canadians; (3) unintentional water entry; (4) young adult males; (5) water transport related drowning; (6) Indigenous peoples; (7) Northern Canada and rural areas and cold water immersion (8) Drowning in supervised settings. The first edition of The Canadian Drowning Prevention Plan was released in October 2017. Achieving representative multi-sectoral engagement is an ongoing challenge. There is under-representation from marginalized communities such as Indigenous peoples, and new Canadians.

Conclusions and policy implications Creating a multi-sectoral drowning prevention coalition and national plan in Canada has revealed important learnings. A key challenge in this process is engaging representation from high burden stakeholders and achieving government engagement.

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