The Canadian Association of Poison Centres and Clinical Toxicologists (CAPCCT), Health Canada and Parachute have released the first Pan-Canadian Poison Centre Annual Report since 1987
The Canadian Association of Poison Centres and Clinical Toxicologists (CAPCCT), Health Canada and Parachute (Canada’s national charity dedicated to injury prevention) have released the first Pan-Canadian Poison Centre Annual Report since 1987.
Read the report, hosted on infopoison.ca.
Moving forward, Pan-Canadian Poison Centre reports will be published annually.
Poisoning, particularly unintentional poisoning, is a much larger public health issue in Canada than is generally recognized. Poisoning incidents cost the Canadian economy $2.6 billion in a single year, including $456 million in direct health-care system costs.
Canada’s five poison centres operate 24/7 year-round to provide medical advice on poison exposures, managing more than 60 per cent of cases remotely, allowing patients to safety stay at home and outside of healthcare facilities. The 2020 Pan-Canadian Poison Centre Annual Report includes the most current data from all five of Canada’s poison centres. The report provides an overview of the number and nature of cases managed by poison centres across Canada and highlights the role of these centres in poison prevention efforts.
Key findings from the 2020 annual report:
- In 2020, Canada’s poison centres managed 215,589 cases, including 186,739 confirmed or potential human exposure cases and 28,850 non-exposures or other cases.
- More than one-third of the exposure cases poison centres managed – 64,527 exposure cases – involved a child aged 5 or under.
- The majority (74.5 per cent) of exposure cases managed by poison centres were unintentional incidents.
- Poison centres managed 30,331 cases resulting from suspected substance- and toxin-related self-harm. In 71 per cent of these cases, the person exposed was female.
- In 2020, the most common substances involved in exposures cases managed by poison centres were medications for pain relief (analgesics) and household cleaning substances.
- Most poisoning exposure cases are managed at home without requiring medical attention at a hospital, clinic or doctor’s office. Poison centre staff provide guidance and reassurance to Canadians while preventing unnecessary strain on healthcare resources.
- When cases are managed at home – more than 60 per cent of cases – a benign outcome is assumed. Where possible, poison centre staff follow cases where the patient is in, en route to, or referred to a healthcare facility until the patient’s medical outcome is known.
- In addition to providing necessary healthcare, Canada’s poison centres are also unique and critical sources of data and surveillance. Poison centre data and expertise provide critical information used to identify poisoning risks in the community, inform regulatory action, update professional knowledge, and educate and protect the public.
Canada’s five poison centres are critical resources for healthcare advice as well as surveillance and data collection. Data highlighted in this report demonstrate that poisonings continue to be a major public health concern in Canada, especially in light of recent trends in both unintentional and self-harm poisonings and emerging causes of poisoning.