The Drowning Prevention Research Centre is the lead agency for drowning and water-incident research in Canada. The Centre conducts research into fatal and non-fatal drowning, significant aquatic injury and rescue interventions. Ongoing research and analysis supports evidence-based water-rescue training and drowning prevention education.


The Drowning Prevention Research Centre Canada is the new name of the Water Incident Research Alliance (WIRA), which was established in March 1999 as an alliance of the following organizations: Canadian Coast Guard, Canadian Institute for Health Information, Canadian Red Cross Society, City of Toronto, Lifesaving Society Canada, Ontario Provincial Police, and Parks and Recreation Ontario.

WIRA was incorporated as a non-profit organization on June 6, 2001 and approved by the Canadian federal government as a registered charity in May 2007. In 2010, WIRA became the Drowning Prevention Research Centre Canada and operates today as an independent non-profit organization.

Role and Responsibilities

The role of the Drowning Prevention Research Centre Canada is to provide "the facts" - the who, what, where, when and why of water-related incidents and injuries. The Centre provides useful data to organizations involved in water safety, drowning prevention, and search and rescue.

The Drowning Prevention Research Centre Canada:

  • Undertakes primary research when needed and not available from a credible, reliable source.
  • Encourages and facilitates others to undertake research that will support drowning prevention strategies.
  • Collects and maintains a water-incident database related to fatal drowning, non-fatal drownings, significant injuries and responder interventions.
  • Disseminates research data in a timely manner to media and relevant stakeholders including government.
  • Encourages the delivery of drowning prevention programs and public education campaigns.

Current Projects

  • Collect and analyze drowning data from provincial coroners' offices annually (ongoing since 2001).
  • Collect and publish weekly data on Canadian fatal and non-fatal drownings and significant water-related injuries.
  • Publish the official annual provincial/territorial drowning reports.

Canadian Drowning Prevention Plan, 9th Edition, 2022

The Canadian Drowning Prevention Plan was first introduced in 2017 in response to Recommendation 3 in the World Health Organization's Global report on drowning: preventing a leading killer. The report outlines that a national plan should set relevant national targets; use evidence-based mechanisms to achieve targets; outline community actions, policy & legislation, and research; and, include human and financial resources to implement its goals.

This 9th edition identifies and sets priorities to achieve key focus targets based on evidence that guides the development of prevention strategies.

Online mapping of drowning incidents in recreational boating across Canada

The Drowning Prevention Research Centre Canada (DPRC) is leading a two-phase research project focused on recreational boating-related injuries for Transport Canada's Boating Safety Contribution Program titled: Online mapping of drowning incidents in recreational boating across Canada.

In the first phase, the DPRC provided a written report on recreational boating-related fatalities in Canada (2008-2017) with data from its drowning database. This report is now available in English and French:

The findings in the report significantly contribute to our knowledge about recreational boating-related injuries and will assist local communities, governments and law enforcement in developing targeted initiatives to reduce boating fatalities.

The first phase of the project also included the creation of a map of recreational boating-related fatalities:

Recreational boating-related fatalities map / Carte des décès associés à la navigation de plaisance