Government takes action to develop national guidelines for concussion management

Source: Public Health Agency of Canada and Department of Canadian Heritage - Sport Canada

The frequency of concussions in sport and their potential for serious health consequences are increasingly being recognized as a serious public health issue in Canada.

Yesterday, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, announced that the Government of Canada is investing $1.4 million to develop a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to preventing, managing and raising awareness among Canadians about concussions.

Currently, there is no common approach in Canada to address concussions across the many settings in which they can occur, including schools, fields of play, and recreation centres. The goal of harmonizing concussion guidelines is to provide caregivers and front-line professionals, including parents, teachers, coaches, and health professionals, with consistent and evidence-based information. These guidelines will help to make sport and recreation safer for children and athletes, and to reduce the health risks associated with this serious head injury.

Parachute, a leading injury prevention charity, will lead the development of harmonized concussion management guidelines and protocols. Parachute has established an Advisory Committee on Concussions with some of Canada’s foremost experts in the field. Over the coming months, the Committee will begin work on the development of Canadian Concussion Guidelines and a series of sport-specific concussion protocols based on evidence resulting from the Fifth International Consensus Conference on Concussion in Sport taking place in Berlin, Germany on October 27-28, 2016.

The guidelines and protocols will focus on children, youth and athletes in sport and recreational settings where there is a high incidence of concussion, with the goal of having them return to the classroom, activity, and everyday life as effectively as possible. This work will complement broad-based collaborative efforts underway with provinces and territories and stakeholders in the sport, recreation, education and health sectors.

Quick Facts

  • Data gathered from hospital emergency departments across Canada indicate that 64% of visits among 10-18 year-olds are related to participation in sports, physical activity and recreation.
  • Between 2004 and 2014, the number of reported head injuries (relative to other injuries) among children playing sports increased by more than 40%.
  • In early 2016, the Public Health Agency of Canada invested $294,000 with Parachute to create the Concussion Ed app, which provides users with interactive resources and tools on how to prevent, recognize and manage concussions, including when to see a doctor.  


“In Canada, greater awareness is needed about concussions and their related potential dangers, particularly among those involved in sports and recreation activities. With comprehensive national concussion guidelines and protocols, children and their parents, athletes, coaches and health care professionals will have the information they need to help prevent concussions and manage them carefully when they occur.”

The Honourable Jane Philpott, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Health

“I am proud that our government is taking the lead when it comes to the health and safety of Canada’s children, youth, and athletes. There are too many stories of Canadians who have suffered head trauma as a result of their participation in sport or recreation. Canadians need access to the tools and knowledge necessary to keep participation in sport and recreation safe. That is why our government is following through on its promise and making this investment for harmonized protocols on return-to-play and return-to-learn policies to ensure a safe and supportive playing environment for all participants.”

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, P.C, M.P. 
Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities

“Canadians are asking for and have a growing need for accurate concussion information across the country. Parachute is pleased to see the federal government’s commitment to preventing injuries and saving lives with funding for harmonization of concussion guidelines. This is very important work and we look forward to continuing to work with the government on raising awareness of concussion treatment.”

Pamela Fuselli
Parachute, Interim CEO

120,965 crunching in the Southwest Region’s Ontario Student Nutrition Program “Great Big Crunch”

Partner post by Amberley Ruetz, Resource Development Coordinator for the Ontario Student Nutrition Program – Southwest Region

Today, over 120,000 people across Southwestern Ontario will take a bite into health during the Ontario Student Nutrition Program-Southwest Region’s Great Big Crunch. This fun event brings together students, school board officials and local leaders across Southwestern Ontario to take a simultaneous bite into an apple to encourage children to increase their consumption of nutritious fruits and vegetables. The purpose of the event is to build awareness, support and much needed resources/volunteers for student nutrition programs. Great Big Crunch celebrations range from small gatherings in classrooms to whole school congregations in gymnasiums to partake in fun activities such as apple bobbing, making apple-themed crafts, listening to apple stories, and more!

Happening in the fall at the height of apple season, the Great Big Crunch highlights the availability of local produce to students that showcases the bounty of delicious fruits and vegetables available in our backyards. Last year over $22,000 of local apples were purchased which supported 20 local apple growers and producers across Southwestern Ontario. 

Danielle Findlay, Program Coordinator for Windsor-Essex’s Ontario Student Nutrition Program reported “The Great Big Crunch is gaining in popularity every year. The event gets kids excited about healthy eating, local food systems and is a creative way for us to collectively ‘Say Yes to Good Food in Schools.’" Click here to learn more about OSNP’s "Say Yes to Good Food in Schools" Campaign. 

Nine workplaces across Southwestern Ontario are also crunching to show their support for healthy eating encouraged by student nutrition programs. Three health units (Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, Oxford County Health Unit, and the Chatham-Kent Health Unit), three schools boards (Lambton Kent District School Board, St Clair Catholic School Board, and the Bruce Grey Catholic School Board) as well as the Town of Tecumseh, the Windsor’s Victorian Order of Nurses and Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare will also host their own crunches. In total, 120,965 people across Southwestern Ontario will participate, making it OSNP’s biggest Great Big Crunch ever!

Participants are encouraged to share photos of their crunch through social media by using the hashtags #GreatBigCrunch #SayYestoGoodFoodinSchools #StudentNutrition and tagging @OSNPsouthwest

Students involved in school nutrition programs: 

  • are more likely to try new fruits and vegetables;
  • are more likely to develop good nutrition habits; 
  • are less likely to be absent or late for school; 
  • are more likely to demonstrate positive behaviours in the classroom; and
  • are able to concentrate better, and retain and apply information more effectively.

The Ontario Student Nutrition Program - Southwest Region (OSNP-SW) supports 97,836 students in 489 schools across Southwestern Ontario. Last year (2015/16), OSNP-SW provided 15,776,562 healthy meals and snacks to ensure that all students are well nourished and ready to learn. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @OSNPsouthwest or visit us online at

For more information about OSNP-SW’s Great Big Crunch, please contact Amberley Ruetz.

About the author


Amberley Ruetz works for the Ontario Student Nutrition Program - Southwest Region which provides healthy breakfast and snacks to kids across Southwestern Ontario so all children and well nourished and ready to learn. As a Masters of Globalization and the Human Condition graduate and SSHRC recipient, Amberley is passionate about the impact local food and sustainable food systems can have on job creation, local economic development and the reduction of food waste. You can connect with Amberley on Linkedin, on Twitter (@amberleyruetz) or via email at

The ParticipACTION 150 Play List: 150 ways to celebrate Canada’s 150th

To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017, ParticipACTION has taken on an epic, awe-inspiring initiative called the ParticipACTION Play List, a national campaign featuring nationwide events, spectacular prizes and activities for all Canadians to participate. 

ParticipACTION wants your help in putting together a list of the 150 most Canadian activities – from sports (e.g., hockey, lacrosse) to everyday activities (e.g., raking leaves, shovelling snow) to playground games (e.g., hopscotch, foursquare).  Once the list is complete, ParticipACTION is challenging Canadians everywhere to complete as many activities as possible for the chance to win awesome prizes like activity trackers, trips across Canada and a brand-new car. 

What can you do to be part of the Play List? 

For more information, please visit ParticipACTION’s 150 Play List page