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
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
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
- 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.
- 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
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
Online mapping of drowning incidents in recreational boating
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:
fatalities map / Carte des décès associés à la navigation de