|Message from the President
Celebrating the first year, looking to the future
In July, Parachute marked its first birthday. We are a year old! This has given us all an opportunity to reflect on the accomplishments, and challenges, of bringing together four organizations into a single, national, unifying Parachute.
What stands out? The goodwill and support we received from across the country, from our stakeholders, our sponsors, and our colleagues in government. The courage, energy and enthusiasm of our staff, and the recognition of accomplishment and renewed energy we all feel when we get something right.
And the milestones have continued. Having completed the initial operational activities in the first few months (for more detail on this initial period, please see our first report on operations, we then turned to developing our first strategic plan. This plan, approved by the Board on Sept. 3, provides a national framework for operations, identifies strategic priorities and activities, and sets goals and targets. These goals and targets are not just for Parachute, but for all of Canada. We will be sharing it with you all at the Canadian Injury Prevention Conference in Montreal in November. I look forward to seeing you all there.
And as I look towards my first anniversary as CEO of Parachute later this month, I am keenly aware of the tragic stories we hear about in the news. These stories motivate me and remind me of the importance of our work.
Parachute and you - together we can prevent injuries, and save lives.
Federal health minister meets with Parachute
Minister congratulates Parachute for raising awareness
Louise Logan, Parachute's President and CEO, and Pamela Fuselli, Vice-President, Government and Stakeholder Relations, met with new federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose on Sept. 10 to discuss the importance of injury prevention.
Project Gearshift: driving change in Canada
Teen driver safety campaign launched by Parachute
Young drivers 16 to 24 years of age are at higher risk of being killed in motor vehicle collisions per distance travelled than all other age groups, according to Transport Canada. Parachute’s new national teen driver safety campaign, Project Gearshift, aims to reduce those numbers, with the help of youth themselves.
The new Project Gearshift website, houses all content related to the campaign, which features awareness raising and engagement activities for youth, teachers and the community. This campaign has developed out of feedback from six youth ambassadors, who are working to host community leader meetings in their hometowns. These meetings will feature panel discussions on the most important local traffic issues. Key individuals will be invited to attend, such as policy-makers, emergency services workers, law enforcement and public health.
The website also has curriculum resources, youth leadership group activities and exciting competitions, with new content added almost daily. One such competition we are pleased to promote is Celebrate My Drive, an initiative led by State Farm, Project Gearshift’s sponsor.
Schools in Alberta, Ontario and New Brunswick who register for CMD are eligible for grants and prizes, including one of 10 $100,000 grants and one of two grand prize concerts by Kelly Clarkson for their community. Project Gearshift and Celebrate My Drive will come together to introduce a National Teen Driver Safety Week, Oct. 20-26, to be proposed at the Project Gearshift Ottawa Youth Symposium on Oct. 22.
Herzog, teens' videos fight texting and driving
Canadian teens to create videos to reach their peers
Acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog’s 35-minute documentary on the dangers of texting while driving brought new attention to the issue when it was released in August. If you haven’t seen it yet, we have a link to it from our website. This haunting documentary revisits four real-life tragedies in which texting young drivers crashed, forever affecting the lives of many. Mr. Herzog’s video is being distributed to thousands of U.S. high schools.
Here in Canada, Parachute has been encouraging budding Herzogs to create their own (short) public service announcements engaging their peers to prevent injury and save lives by driving safely. Visit the Is It Worth It? website to see our 2013 winner, which also featured a no-texting-and-driving theme, and to find out about the third annual contest.
Parachute website launches online courses
Passport to Safety, concussion education
You can now visit the Parachute website to take courses in both workplace safety and in concussion. Our online Passport to Safety and concussion education courses have both been redesigned and are available for a modest fee, and in some cases are offered free of charge.
Passport to Safety is directed primarily at young workers who take a test, based on learning outcomes developed by health and safety curriculum experts from most provinces and territories across Canada. Successful participants are awarded a certificate of completion that can be attached to resumés to demonstrate their basic awareness of health and safety.
Passport to Safety also offers courses for supervisors, farm workers and “advanced learners”. If you have used Passport to Safety under the former website, please note you will need to create a new username and password at the new site.
The newly revised online concussion education series of three courses is aimed at teachers, parents, and students/young athletes, respectively and is set to launch on our website by Sept. 19. With the growing understanding of how serious concussion can be, these courses should prove to be quite timely.
The concussion courses provide key insights for each of these groups, enabling them to: explain what a concussion is and why it is so important to protect individuals from concussions, especially repetitive concussions; identify the signs and symptoms of concussion; explain why a student with a suspected concussion should be seeing a doctor; and understand the important steps involved in returning to play and returning to learn after a concussion.
National health groups seek Parachute input
Parachute invited to present, participate in research
It’s well known that some of the greatest gains in reducing injury deaths have resulted from public policy changes – including legislation aimed at making seatbelts and child car seats mandatory, graduated driver licensing laws and child-proof medicine containers. With this in mind, Parachute has been working to advance the issue of injury prevention in the area of public policy. Over the last year, staff have met with numerous government officials from across Canada and various groups and individuals with an interest in preventing injury.
Here’s some of what’s happening next:
- On Sept. 4, Parachute was invited to present on its work and the need to make injury prevention a priority, to the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Healthy People and Communities Steering Committee. The committee has representatives from the federal level and from each province.
- On Nov. 20, Parachute has been invited to present to the Pan-Canadian Public Health Network Council – a network of individuals across Canada from many sectors and levels of government, who work together to strengthen public health in Canada. The Council includes academics, researchers, public servants, members of non-governmental organizations and health professionals.
- Parachute has been invited to sit as a consumer representative on the Canadian Standards Association’s committee on school bus standards. This will be the fourth CSA committee that Parachute sits on.
- Finally, Parachute has been invited to participate in a study on injury mortality trends in Canada from 1950-2009. Childhood injury prevention expert Dr. Colin MacArthur heads the study aimed at determining which major injury interventions were successful in reducing injury mortality rates over the past 60 years.
Child passenger safety enthusiasts sought
Car seat technicians, volunteers needed for fall clinics
Attention all child passenger safety enthusiasts: Parachute is looking for volunteers for a series of car seat clinics it will hold in the Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal areas. We are looking for both trained car seat technicians and general volunteers interested in child passenger safety.
More young Canadians to live with No Regrets
Teens, young adults to help peers prevent injury
Parachute has re-launched No Regrets for young people, with many new resources and a new website, as a way to reach a much wider audience of youth with our life-saving messages. In addition to high school students, No Regrets will now be easily accessible to young people in colleges, universities, sports teams, youth groups, as well as to community groups who work with youth.
No Regrets was first launched in Canadian high schools 10 years ago as a peer-to-peer injury prevention program. Trained by Parachute, youth organize No Regrets teams in their schools to host fun and interactive events and activities for their peers, focused on at least one of our key risk-management messages: Buckle Up, Look First, Wear the Gear, Get Trained and Drive Sober. Now, No Regrets will continue to live in high schools but a wider youth demographic will be invited to take the lead in raising awareness of injury among their peers, including youth in the community and at post-secondary schools.
The online program will be more user-friendly and accessible to a wider audience. It has also been designed to be used by community educators, public health and other organizations who work with youth and would like to help organize a No Regrets group. Visit our new website.
The website includes an online program registration system, training videos, a program toolkit, monthly special topic webinars, and wider range of suggested activities and events. The online training portal will be supplemented with a high level of support from program staff.
New helmet, booster seat laws in Manitoba
No provincial tax on helmets, child safety seats
New laws to increase child safety in Manitoba are now in force. As of Aug. 8, as in most provinces, drivers must ensure their child passengers are properly seated and restrained in child car seats, seatbelts and now booster seats. Children in Manitoba must remain in booster seats until they are at least 145 centimetres tall, 36 kilograms or at least nine years old.
In addition, effective July 1, child-restraining devices used in vehicles, such as car seats and booster seats, are exempt from provincial sales tax. For more information, visit the website.
Secondly, as of May 1, parents and guardians are responsible for ensuring cyclists under age 18 wear a suitable helmet while cycling. The law also applies to children who are passengers on a bicycle or in anything attached to or towed by a bicycle.
Anyone who receives a first ticket for not wearing a helmet may choose to take the Manitoba Bike Helmet Safety Course and have their fine dismissed. The course offers cyclists important safety information about bike helmets. Bicycle helmets are now exempt from provincial sales tax as well. For more information, visit the website.
Concussion toolkit for health practitioners
Launched in B.C. then across Canada
A team of injury prevention researchers and emergency department doctors is behind a new Concussion Awareness Training Toolkit designed for health practitioners. CATT features a learner-directed online training module, supplemented with diagnostic tools (both adult and child Sport Concussion Assessment Tools – third edition - or SCAT3) and links to clinical resources, patient handouts, journal articles, related websites (including Parachute’s) and concussion videos.
The aim of this new online tool, offered free of charge, is to standardize concussion recognition, diagnosis, treatment and manage¬ment and thus to improve patient care throughout the country. Good concussion management may decrease the risk of brain damage and potentially reduce health care costs related to long-term health issues.
Funded by the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation and Child Health BC, in collaboration with the British Columbia Medical Association, CATT was extensively reviewed in the province and across the country and has been launched both in B.C. and across Canada.
CATT is also undergoing a two-pronged evaluation. Part 1 of the evaluation is looking at changes in knowledge, attitudes and practices among physicians and nurses following completion of the CATT tutorial and access to the tools and links. Part 2 looks at changes in family experiences when attending the emergency department at the BC Children’s Hospital with a head-injured child. The results of the evaluation will be published later this fall.
Parachute coordinates child injury project
Preventing injury among Canada's most vulnerable
Parachute is leading a project to reduce injury among young children, 0-6 years, particularly those living in the inner city, remote and rural areas. We’re working through family resource centres to reach vulnerable families, providing them with injury prevention information and resources.
The project began when the Public Health Agency of Canada invited Safe Kids Canada to look at injury prevention needs for the Community Action Program for Children and Canada’s Prenatal Nutrition Program. Parachute has been working with CAPC/CPNP partners and members of the Canadian Collaborating Centres for Injury Prevention to address the needs identified.
Project activities include developing graphic images and key messages for parents on a number of child safety issues, by issue and by ages and stages. These messages and images will be housed on the Parachute website along with templates for safety calendars, posters, etc. An example is shown here. In addition, articles on various injury issues will be developed for sharing in newsletters, blogs etc. Finally, various training opportunities will be developed for CAPC/CPNP staff to learn how to integrate child safety into their current programs.
New injury curriculum launched in Maritimes
Home Safety Curriculum to pilot test in New Brunswick
Over the past few years, Child Safety Link has built capacity in the area of children’s injury prevention across the Maritime provinces by delivering its Home Safety Curriculum to Family Resource Centre staff and other professionals. The curriculum includes information and examples of how to use a series of tools to support and provide their client families with accurate, accessible injury prevention information.
In fall 2012, CSL travelled across Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island to share its curriculum with Family Resource Centre staff and professionals. From the feedback received during these sessions, CSL made revisions to reflect requests and emerging information on children’s safety, redeveloping the Home Safety Curriculum. These changes have allowed CSL to better achieve its mandate to reduce the incidence and severity of injury to children and youth across Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
CSL will begin pilot-testing the revamped Home Safety Curriculum this fall in New Brunswick. As word of the program spreads, they hope to continue to help community organizations support the families they are in contact with every day, to help make the Maritimes a safer place for children to live and play.
OTF grant to benefit injury network
Stakeholders' map, evidence-based leading practices
We are pleased to announce that Parachute has received funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation that will benefit the Parachute network. We will develop an interactive stakeholder map and a repository of, and training for stakeholders on, evidence-based leading practices. More information about these new initiatives will follow.
Wellington County 64th Safe Community
Parachute representatives join hundreds at ceremony
Fall prevention, motor vehicle collisions, both on and off road, and self-harm are the top three injury priorities Wellington County, Parachute’s newest designated Safe Community, is set to tackle.
Parachute was pleased to send representatives to Mount Forest on June 20 to officially designate Wellington County the 64th Safe Community in Canada. The ceremony followed a year in which fire, police and emergency services, public health, municipal offices and local business in seven communities, came together to prioritize preventing injuries and saving lives.
County Warden Chris White, with Safe Community Co-Chairs Gary Williamson and Sgt. Jack Hunjan, along with MPP Randy Pettapiece, and OPP Inspector Scott Lawson, discussed the top injury priorities during the event attended by more than 300 people, including many children and youth. Attendees were treated to displays and exhibits by partner organizations, all demonstrating a common voice for injury prevention.
Parachute Vice President of Corporate Strategy, Marketing and Development, Lori Radke spoke about how these areas align with Parachute’s own areas of focus, and the support that the county will now be able to access as they activate injury prevention efforts locally. Barry King, Parachute’s Ontario Provincial Lead for the Safe Communities Program, emphasized the importance of having so many young people at the event. Youth may be only 20% of the population, but they represent 100% of the future, and their involvement in community safety is essential, he said.
Parachute congratulates all involved and looks forward to our ongoing relationship. Wellington County now belongs to a network of community groups across the country committed to helping their citizens live long lives to the fullest, injury-free.
Fall expert explains fall risks, prevention
National fall prevention conference set for next spring
Next generation hip protectors, wearable fall sensors and compliant flooring were a few of the innovations Parachute staff heard about during a presentation on fall prevention for seniors, courtesy of British Columbia’s Dr. Vicki Scott, one of Canada’s foremost experts in the field. Dr. Scott was in Toronto co-hosting a session of the Canadian Falls Prevention Curriculum with Linda Yenssen, manager of the Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre, operated at Parachute. The two were also meeting to plan the second national Canadian Fall Prevention Conference, to be held in Toronto, May 27-28, 2014.
The conference will be co-hosted by the OIPRC and the British Columbia Injury Research and Prevention Unit, where Dr. Scott is senior advisor on fall and injury prevention. Dr. Scott is also a professor at the University of British Columbia and Director of the Centre of Excellence on Mobility, Fall Prevention and Injury in Aging at the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility.
A fall can have a devastating physical and psychological effect on an older person, Dr. Scott noted, resulting in disability, chronic pain, loss of independence, reduced quality of life and even death. She described the public health approach to reducing the incidence and severity of falls, which demands a “proactive, systematic and multi-sectoral approach to prevention.” With one in three seniors falling at least once per year and a rapidly aging population, it’s critical to take action.
Beaches feature drowning-prevention event
Parachute, Preventable and health unit partner to save lives
Towels, emblazoned with the words, “Before you think only other swimmers drown, have a word with yourself”, were laid on popular beaches to get people to think twice before entering the water for a swim. Parachute helped organize a well-attended media event during National Drowning Prevention Week then spent the Friday and Saturday at Sandbanks and North Beach provincial parks in Ontario chatting with beachgoers about the messages behind our towels and how to take steps to prevent drowning.
Parachute worked with Preventable, a B.C.-based injury prevention group, and the Hastings & Prince Edward Counties Health Unit on this drowning prevention awareness-raising event. The health unit had discovered Preventable’s creative and provocative messages and approaches online and sought Parachute’s help in making the event happen.
Towels, complete with flip-flops and an open paperback, suggesting the owner had left and hadn’t returned ¬ – were lined up to remind people that hundreds of Canadians drown each year, in rivers, lakes, backyard pools, even bathtubs. Close supervision of children, wearing lifejackets and avoiding alcohol when near water were three key messages promoted during the event.
To see some of the news coverage of the event, visit Parachute in the news on our website.