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July18th - July 17–23 2022 is National Drowning Prevention Week in Canada’s Capital Region

The Lifesaving Society, Canada’s leading organization responsible for drowning prevention, designates the third week in July as National Drowning Prevention Week (NDPW) to focus community and media attention on the drowning problem and drowning prevention.

To mark this occasion, the Lifesaving Society flag will fly at Ottawa City Hall and Gatineau City Hall until July 23 2022. Gatineau City Council has issued an official proclamation.

On Monday July 18 2022 at 10AM, Deputy Mayor George Darouze will launch the City of Ottawa’s NDPW activities with a mayoral proclamation at Ottawa City Hall.

We invite representatives from the media to join the proclamation presentation outdoors at Marion Dewar Plaza. Special guests include Matthew Luloff, Chair of the City of Ottawa Community and Protective Services Committee, Mathieu Fleury, Councillor for Lowertown, Sandy Hill and Vanier, Kathleen Finn, President of the Lifesaving Society Ontario, and Constable Caroline Gallant, Chair of the Ottawa Drowning Prevention Coalition and member of the Ottawa Police Marine Dive and Trails Unit.

The Ottawa Drowning Prevention Coalition and local aquatic facilities will hold drowning prevention awareness activities and promote safe water practices this week and throughout the summer season.

Information from the Drowning Reports

Over 400 people die by drowning annually in Canada, making it the second leading cause of unintentional death for children and the third leading cause of unintentional death for adults, with Indigenous, northern and new Canadians having a disproportionate mortality burden. Drowning is preventable. Even one drowning incident is one too many.

Statistics show that almost 70% of those who fatally drown never intend to go into the water and are often within 15 metres of safety. A recent drowning report estimates that 74% of those who fatally drowned were participating in recreational activities, such as boating. Alcohol consumption, failing to properly wear a personal flotation device, and doing recreational activities alone, are shown to be key risk factors.

Drowning is often thought of as fatal, however for every fatal drowning in Ontario, there are nearly four non-fatal drownings that are serious enough to require an emergency department visit. People who experience a non-fatal drowning may face serious health issues as a result, often for the rest of their lives.

The United Nations has declared July 25 as World Drowning Prevention Day to bring attention to the global burden of the drowning problem.


“I encourage all Canadians to be vigilant with young children - to control and restrict access to water and to keep them within arms’ reach. And since the safest place to swim is in lifeguard supervised areas, I encourage all to swim at beaches and pools where lifeguards are working,” said Barbara Byers, Senior Research Officer with the Lifesaving Society.

“Drowning can happen in an instant. Everyone is at risk of drowning, even strong swimmers. Know your limits and use layers of protection to stay safe in and around the water,” said Sean Duffy, Area Chair with the Lifesaving Society.

“Impaired boating continues to be a problem and carries the same sanctions and consequences as impaired driving. MADD Canada reports that drinking and boating incidents account for 40% of boating related fatalities in Canada. Make smarter choices this season. Don’t drink and drive on the water,” said Caroline Gallant, Constable, Ottawa Police Service and Chair, Ottawa Drowning Prevention Coalition.

The Lifesaving Society has a variety of NDPW resources on its Ontario website – – to assist in focusing attention on drowning and drowning prevention messages.

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