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Cost of Injury in British Columbia

Cost of Injury in British Columbia quantifies the economic burden of injury from a societal perspective, including costs to the health care system, to productivity, and to the people behind the numbers: individuals, families, and communities.

This report presents data on all injuries at the provincial level from the year 2018. The report is published online only, featuring interactive data visualizations, similar to the Cost of Injury in Canada (2021) published by Parachute.

Previous work includes Economic Burden of Injury in British Columbia (2015) with 2010 data, and The economic burden of injuries in British Columbia: Applying evidence to practice (2018), a BC Medical Journal publication with 2013 data. The current report uses updated methods.

To tell the story of the cost of injury in BC, this report presents data in five sections: 

  • The human cost of injury. Cases and rates of injury in BC, 2018 
  • Costs to the health system and society. Total, direct, and indirect costs of injury, 2018 
  • Costs by cause of injury. Total, per capita, and per outcome costs by cause of injury, 2018 
  • Injury costs across the lifespan. Costs by age and sex, by cause of injury, 2018
  • BC Priorities: Falls, transport, and suicide/self-harm. Costs by age and sex for specific types of falls, transport incidents, and suicide/self-harm, 2018 

This report presents a very conservative estimate of the cost of injury. Most importantly, it does not quantify the pain and suffering experienced by individuals, families, and communities as the result of preventable injuries. 

An important note about our data 

Some numbers and proportions may not sum to the total number of cases due to rounding. There may be variations in data between this report and provincial/national reports. Cases with missing age group, sex, or health authority were excluded from tables when presented by age group, sex, or health authority, and therefore these costs may be underestimated. For more information, review the limitations described in the Methods section. 

Further information pertaining to definitions, methodology, coding classification and references can be found in the Appendices.


Preventable injuries cost the BC economy $4.3 billion in 2018, including $2.7 billion in direct health care costs. But the story does not end there. The human cost of injury brings pain, suffering, and diminished health and well-being to individuals, their families, and their communities. It has an impact on our potential to live long lives to the fullest. 

Injury is the leading cause of death for British Columbians ages one to 44 years. The overall rate of death due to injury increased between 2010 and 2018, from 45 to 53 per 100,000 population. 

In 2018, injuries in BC resulted in:

  • 2,669 deaths 
  • 8,753 disabilities, have a temporarily or permanent impact on the potential for economic independence 
  • 33,256 hospitalizations 
  • 614,866 emergency department (ED) visits 
  • $2.7 billion in direct health care costs 
  • $4.3 billion in total economic costs 

The leading cause of injury deaths were: 

  • Unintentional poisoning (40%)
  • Falls (22%)
  • Suicide (20%) 
  • Transport incidents (10%)

Unintentional injuries, injuries that occur without planning or intent, accounted for $3.8 billion (89%) of injury costs.

The leading causes of injury measured as total cost were:

  • Falls: $1.7 billion (41%)
  • Unintentional poisoning: $703 million (16.3%)
  • Transport incidents: $492 million (11.4%)
  • Suicide/self-harm: $371 million (8.6%)

The leading causes of injury measured as total cost by age group were:

  • Children (0-14): falls, $112 million 
  • Youth & young adults (15-24): unintentional poisoning, $125 million 
  • Adults (25-64): unintentional poisoning, $567 million 
  • Older adults (65+): falls, $1.1 billion

The three provincial priorities for injury prevention initiatives in BC are:

  • Community-dwelling seniors falls and fall-related injury prevention
  • Transport-related injury prevention 
  • Youth suicide and self-harm prevention

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