Safe Communities Canada

Safe Communities Canada

September 17, 2008 12:00 ET

Safe Communities Canada Announces Winnipeg as a Designated Safe Community

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 17, 2008) - Safe Communities Canada Board of Directors Chair John Dalzell today announced that Safe Communities Canada has approved an application from the Winnipeg Committee for Safety to designate Winnipeg as the 54th Designated Safe Community in Canada.

"Designation by Safe Communities Canada signifies that the community has demonstrated its commitment to a culture of safety and injury prevention through established community-specific priorities to reduce the risk and burden of injury for our children, seniors and friends through partnerships between the private, public and volunteer sectors" Mr. Dalzell said. "The application by the volunteers and professional practitioners in the field of injury reduction, representatives of local business, government and community-based organizations in Winnipeg demonstrated an incredibly strong commitment to making Winnipeg one of the safest places to live in Canada. We congratulate all those involved for this significant accomplishment".

On 24 November 2006 the Winnipeg Committee for Safety began a dialogue to connect the community with City Council and civic administration to discuss short and long-term strategies for injury and crime reduction and the promotion of a culture of safety for the City of Winnipeg. The Committee's first meeting, Towards a Safe Winnipeg! attracted 64 people representing 42 community organizations and government departments and was the birth of the Safe Communities Winnipeg Leadership Table, formed on 22 October 2007.

Safe Communities Canada president and founder Paul Kells congratulated the City of Winnipeg as the newest member of the Canadian Safe Communities movement and the commitment demonstrated to enhancing the quality of life for all of its residents. "At its recent session to establish priorities to address community-specific safety issues and injury reduction, the committee hosted over 170 Winnipeg citizens, the largest number of participants to date than any other community in the country" he said. "Clearly this demonstrates the committee is on the right track and are seen as leaders within the Safe Communities movement in Canada".

Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz welcomed the announcement by Safe Communities Canada. "On behalf of all the citizens of Winnipeg, I and the members of Winnipeg City Council want to thank and congratulate all of those who were involved in this extensive and very thorough process" Katz said. "The hard work by all those involved to date and into the future will have a significant impact on the safety, health and well-being of our children, co-workers, friends and neighbours and a cornerstone to our existing strategies like LiveSafe Winnipeg".

Safe Communities Winnipeg Co-Chair, Dr. Sande Harlos was very encouraged by the announcement. "The City of Winnipeg and its partners have been working very hard to gather stakeholders from many sectors together to work toward making Winnipeg a safer community" Dr. Harlos said. "Designation as a Safe Community by Safe Communities Canada is the first major step in reaching that goal" Dr. Harlos continued.

"Our real work has only just begun" she said. "We recognize that we have a long way to go. But interest and commitment from our community is definitely there. We are ready to roll up our sleeves and show what we can achieved together on something as important as our community's safety" Dr. Harlos concluded.

A formal designation ceremony will take place on Monday, November 3 at the Fort Garry Hotel as part of the annual Safe Communities Canada Awards dinner, which will take place during Safe Communities Canada's annual conference being held in Winnipeg November 2 to 4th.

Safe Communities Canada is Canada's foremost community-driven injury prevention charity whose mission is to make Canada the safest place in the world to live, learn, work and play.

Backgrounder

In November, 1994, 19 year-old Sean Kells was pouring a highly flammable chemical from one ungrounded drum to another when it ignited and exploded. Sean was not told that what he was doing was potentially dangerous, let alone lethal. Sean was killed on the third day of his part-time job. His death was entirely preventable.

In 1996, Sean's father, Paul Kells, founded the Safe Communities Foundation, a national charitable organization dedicated to helping communities to come together to reduce the rate of personal injuries and promote a culture of safety in every community in the country. In 2007 the Foundation became known as Safe Communities Canada.

Since 1996, when 6 communities in Alberta and Ontario were designated Safe Communities, the number of designated safe communities has expanded to 54 representing 23% of the Canadian population in 7 provinces and 1 territory.

M'Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island, Ontario became the first designated Aboriginal Safe Community in 2004 and Whitehorse became the first designated safe community in a territory in 2005. In 2007 the City of Brampton became the 6th Canadian community to receive international Safe Community designation from the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre on Community Safety Promotion. There are only 10 internationally designated communities in North America.

Safe Communities Canada is a leader and an important part of a world-wide family of 134 designated safe communities in 24 countries. Canada was a key mentor for the only three other national networks (Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America) and is North America's first International Certifying Centre on behalf of the WHO Collaborating Centre on Community Safety Promotion.

Over 200,000 young people have completed Passport to Safety - a program originally conceived and piloted by Peterborough Safe Communities, then developed and launched on-line as a signature program of Safe Communities Canada in 2004. The primary purpose for the initiative was, and still is, to heighten the awareness of workplace safety, particularly for young workers 15 to 24 years of age and now for any worker of any age.

Results of the first National Report Card were released in the fall 2007, on National Safe Communities Day, which showed that 51% of the designated communities achieved 90% or better on the Safe Communities Canada Attribute score and 19 communities are in an excellent position to proceed toward WHO designation.

In 2007 volunteers contributed 26,274 hours to the cause of injury prevention and safety promotion in Canada.

Safe Communities Canada is a lead partner in the National Injury Prevention Strategy with SafeKids, Smartrisk and Thinkfirst and is Canada's foremost community-driven injury prevention charity whose mission is to make Canada the safest place in the world to live, learn, work and play.

Contact Information

  • Safe Communities Canada
    Rod Kelly, Director
    Marketing, Communications & Fund Development
    (416) 964-3959 or (Cell) (416) 201-1430
    Email: rkelly@safecommunities.ca
    Website: www.safecommunities.ca
    or
    Office of Mayor Sam Katz
    Carmen Barnett
    Press Secretary
    (204) 986-5569
    Email: cbarnett@winnipeg.ca
    or
    Safe Communities Winnipeg
    c/o Winnipeg Regional Health Authority Media Relations
    Dr. Sande Harlos, Co-Chair
    (204) 926-7178