News and Events

Falls are the No. 1 reason for injury-related death, hospitalization and emergency department visits for older adults in Canada. Falls among older adults cost $5.6 billion in 2018 – nearly 20 per cent of the total cost of injury in Canada.

Our bodies naturally change with age and these changes affect the way we feel, move, and behave. A fall can have a devastating and lasting impact on a person, resulting in injury, chronic pain and a reduced quality of life. Even without an injury, a fall can cause an older adult to lose confidence and reduce their activities. The good news is that there are actions you can take to prevent falls.

Key strategies to prevent falls

These are the most effective steps you can take to prevent a fall, as assessed by the Public Health Agency of Canada and Finding Balance, a program for older adults and caregivers created by the Injury Prevention Centre at the University of Alberta.

Two older adults smiling and wearing helmets while biking on a path
An elderly father with a walker, adult son and grandson out for a walk in the park
  • Exercise: challenge your balance and build strength.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Take your time: don’t rush when walking or getting up.
  • Balance your body through good nutrition and hydration.
  • Get your sight and hearing checked regularly.
  • Manage your medications and review them regularly with your pharmacist or doctor as some may make you prone to dizziness and falling.
  • Wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes.
  • Consider using a cane or other mobility device if needed.
  • Maintain proper use of eyeglasses and hearing aids.

In your home

  • Make sure you have proper lighting in hallways, stairs and walkways, as well as in the bedroom and bathroom.
  • Keep stairs free of clutter and exterior stairs and walkways free of clutter, ice or snow.
  • Install hand rails along stairs and safety grab bars in the bathroom.
  • Check your home for slipping and tripping hazards, and use non-slip mats or rugs.
  • Ensure regularly used items are within reach.

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but rising every time we fall”

– Confucius

Visit your Family Health Team across Wellington County to pick up your “Rise Up to Falls” exercise booklet. 

Join Safe Communities Wellington County for an important discussion on how to navigate society’s  pressure around eating, exercise & health!

Many people often find it challenging to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy choices when it comes to eating and exercise, which can make conversations around this topic more complex. This workshop will bring together The Grove Hubs, Safe Communities Wellington County and members of the public to hear from Aryel Maharaj, Education and Outreach Coordinator, from The National Eating Disorder Information Centre.  This workshop will explore these messages, reflect on the conversations we have with peers and loves ones, and discuss ways to support those who may be struggling. 

Date: Monday, December 4, 2023
Time: 6:00 pm
Location:  The Grove Hubs Fergus – 900 Tower Street South, Fergus, Ontario

Safe Communities Wellington County and the Wellington County OPP partnered to create an informative video educating residents of Wellington County on how to remain safe driving your Off-Road vehicle (ATV, ORV, Dirt Bike) on Wellington County Roads.  Be in the Know Before you Go!  Visit the Safe Communities Wellington County YouTube page to view the video.

All-terrain vehicles (ATV’s), also known as quads, are powerful machines that require strength and skill to operate.  Riding safely and responsibly can help prevent serious injury and death on these vehicles.  On average, there are 100 ATV-related deaths in Canada each year with half of those deaths involving alcohol or drugs.  With the by-law change across Wellington County, our off-road vehicles are now driving on Wellington County Roads.  Taking an ATV training course is highly recommended.  Check out Canadian ATV Safety Institute for courses near you.

Did you Know?

  • 85 per cent of victims in ATV-related deaths are male
  • Most ATV-related deaths result from a rollover or flip.  Other top collisions include collision with other vehicles or objects and being ejected from the vehicle.
  • Half of ATV-related deaths involve alcohol or drugs.

A few rules you need to know…Before you go:

  • Always wear a licensed helmet
  • Always have your lights on
  • Always wear gloves and goggles
  • Always have your drivers license and registration available (You must be 16 years of age to ride on Wellington County Roads)
  • Always be plated
  • Always check with your Town or Township to determine additional rules specific to your municipality

As Canada’s national injury prevention organization, Parachute is proud to present the eleventh annual National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW) from October 15 to 21, 2023, an awareness week designed to build public awareness of teen driver safety issues and encourage communities to be part of the solution. This year’s NTDSW focused on youth as changemakers, to highlight and support young Canadians’ role in improving road safety.

As part of NTDSW this year, Parachute launched the Youth Road Safety Grant Program. It enables youth to take the lead on road safety education and advocacy by funding local, engaging, youth-initiated, youth-led projects that educate young people and community members on pressing road safety issues and safe driving behaviour or advocate for proven measures in their communities.  Hennessey Veit was the proud recipient of one of the $500 grants.  Her focus is on educating her peers at all four Wellington County High Schools about impaired, distracted, and aggressive driving.  As well as remind new drivers about the rules under the graduating licensing system that keep them safe on Wellington County Roads and beyond.


  • Peers can encourage unsafe driving behaviours, such as speeding or impaired driving.
  • The brain is not fully developed until the age of 25 and an underdeveloped brain can lead to poor judgement, organization, decision-making and more impulsive actions, all of which play a role in risky driving behaviour.
  • Young drivers are more likely than middle-aged drivers to drive while distracted due to inexperience, maturity level and overestimating their ability to multitask. 
  • Young people may have limited driving experience, meaning that they may not understand road rules, are not able to safely handle dangerous driving situations and have less ability to control the vehicle.
Safe Communities Wellington County had the opportunity to visit Centre Wellington District High School, Erin District High School and Wellington Heights District High School to show students the effects of impaired driving through the fatal vision program’s BAC goggles.  Over 100 students across the high schools had the opportunity to experience them with a resounding “There is no way I am getting behind a wheel if I have been drinking,” Stated quite a few students.  We also spoke about distracted and aggressive driving to many students as well.  

On Wednesday, July 5, 2023, Safe Communities Wellington County celebrated the seventh Parachute National Injury Prevention Day in Canada to raise awareness about the devastating effects of predictable and preventable injuries. Our goal: to educate others and help all Canadians live long lives to the fullest.

Parachute’s National Injury Prevention Day (NIPD) is a day to raise awareness around the importance of injury prevention and aid Canadians to live long lives to the fullest through education and advocacy. Health Canada recognizes this date as an official national Health Promotion Day.

This year three of our municipalities joined Safe Communities Wellington County in proclaiming July 5, 2023 as National Injury Prevention Day. The Township of Mapleton also led the charge in shining a light on injury prevention by “lighting up” municipal buildings and educating families about how to stay safe in their community!


Wellington County, October 5, 2023 – Safe Communities Wellington County (SCWC) held its 9th annual Safe Communities Day on October 5, 2023 to a virtual audience of 650 grade 5 students from across Wellington County. Wightman Telecom created new safety videos with Grand River Conservation Authority, Guelph Wellington Paramedic Services and Centre Wellington Aquatics. 

Students had the opportunity to speak to a number of safety professionals about their jobs and how they keep Wellington County safe.  

Special thanks to all of the organizations who make Safe Communities Day possible. 

  • Falls Prevention Action Group
  • Minto Fire Services
  • Centre Wellington Aquatics
  • Electrical Safety Authority
  • Wellington County OPP
  • Wellington County Emergency Management

For the full list of safety videos from 2023: 

Learn how to focus on promoting young people’s strengths!

Safe Communities Wellington County has been partnering with Lions Clubs of Canada and Lions Quest Canada to bring an amazing workshop to Wellington County. Already, we have brought together organizations and over 100 people across Wellington County to learn the 40 Problem Solving Skills Young People Need to Succeed.

This workshop will help you promote self reliance, independence, and ultimately, success in life for the young people in your life.

Workshop Highlights & Agenda:

  • Understand the “Ripple Effect” and identify where you can do your part
  • Commit to making a difference
  • Learn how your simple, everyday actions can have an impact
  • Shift from focusing on young people’s problems to promoting their strengths

Our next workshop. Date To Be Determined.

Bell Let’s Talk Day is on January 25, 2023 Please join Safe Communities Wellington County and our partners to End The Stigma and Start a Conversation!

Bell Let’s Talk funding supports organizations large and small in communities nationwide.  They have partnered with more than 1,300 organizations providing mental health supports and services throughout Canada, including hospitals, universities, local community service providers and other care and research organizations.

There are five simple ways to end the stigma and start a conversation:

  1. Your Words Matter
  2. Educate Yourself
  3. Be Kind
  4. Listen and Ask
  5. Talk About It

Learn More


What is Wellington County Doing?

Through a partnership with Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and Wellington County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), CMHA clinicians are working alongside Police Officers to assist in real-time with, calls involving those in crisis. The Program is called IMPACT (Integrated Mobile Police and Crisis Team). 2017 saw a record number of requests for service. In total, 586 calls were received with 431 individuals being served through the program. Clinicians attended a total of 289 live calls with police with 207 individuals not requiring a trip to an Emergency Department. Individuals were instead connected with services and supports that could better serve their needs. This is an extraordinary 73% diversion rate which permits the reinvestment of health, paramedic, and police services to address other important tasks.


A camp serving people with disabilities called to say a camper was having behaviours that could pose risk or harm to other campers, staff and themselves. This camper also had significant medical issues that could be complicated by emergency service intervention. The officer responding asked IMPACT to assist in coordinating a response. IMPACT called the campers parents, who advised that the individual could not be returned home and the individual did not have a home address to return to due to his very complex needs. IMPACT learned that the camper had recently been in a hospital unit for medical needs. The hospital was called and IMPACT was advised that the camper could indeed return to their facility. Police and IMPACT together coordinated with EMS to transport the individual to the hospital already familiar with them. IMPACT attended the camp and the camper was calmly taken by ambulance back to the hospital where their needs could be met and risk could be managed. Police stood-by in case of violence, and all was accomplished in a very safe, supportive way, with the individual agreeing to each step of the plan.

Wellington County Safe Communities Falls Action Group is working to raise awareness on steps you can take to reduce your risk of a fall. When watching television, avoiding a fall seems easy, with the advice of “just don’t fall”. Regardless of how educated you are about falls prevention, how good your balance is or how strong your muscles are, you can still experience a fall. When a senior, who is in good physical condition, falls, the impact of that fall is often reduced, and they are able to remain independent. Falls are the #1 cause of injuries to seniors. The fear of falling is real and can make seniors less confident and result in a reduction in their physical activity levels. As a result, their gait and balance deteriorate. This puts them at an increased risk of falling; which is exactly what they were trying to avoid in the first place. It is important to keep moving and to exercise.

Ernie Read. A 90-year-old resident of Mount Forest, participates in the Boosting Balance Program offered by the Mount Forest Family Health Team. He has been attending the weekly group since 2018 and feels that it has had a positive impact on his mobility and balance. Ernie had a fall three months ago, luckily, he was able to get up independently and was not injured. He attributes this positive outcome to exercising regularly – he attends Boosting Balance weekly and also enjoys walking outside with his walking poles. Ernie would also like to encourage those who are exercising alone to always wear a whistle as it is an inexpensive way to attract attention if help is needed.

Seniors in Wellington County are lucky to have access to the VON SMART exercise program. This exercise program is FREE. Kelly Gee, VON SMART Exercise Coordinator, and member of the Safe Communities Wellington County Falls Action Group, says “Exercise is the universal prescription to pretty much everything! Frailty is not inevitable, in fact, it is reversible. It is never too late to start exercising.”

Sue Hodgson, a participant of the VON SMART exercise program shares her fall story. While out with a friend at a restaurant, a hot beverage was overturned. In an effort to get out of the way, Sue quickly moved away from the table forgetting the step to their booth, and fell. This fall could have resulted in a life changing injury, but Sue who has been attending the SMART exercise program 2-3 times per week was able to walk away with her independence intact. Sue’s fitness level contributed to her resilience to injury and she was right back exercising the very next day. Exercise increases bone density, reducing the risk of a fracture.

Parachute Safe Kids Week, brought to Wellington County by Safe Communities Wellington County, is an annual campaign to raise public awareness of child safety issues, and encouraging community involvement as part of the solution.

Parachute Safe Kids Week 2023 ran May 29 to June 4, 2023, with hundreds of communities holding events across Canada. This year’s messaging focussing on car seat safety and knowing the safety rules to keep your children safe from harm.

This year Safe Communities Wellington County was out at Victoria Park Fields in Fergus to speak to families about seatbelt safety and the importance of preventing injuries while playing sports.

Car crashes are a leading cause of death and injury to children in Canada. Children are well protected and less likely to be severely injured when the right car seat, booster seat or seat belt is used on every ride. Using the right car seat in the right way can reduce the risk of injury by up to 82 per cent and risk of death by up to 71 per cent.

When installed and used correctly, car seats save lives. A Canadian roadside study found that 99 per cent of kids were buckled but 73 per cent of car seats were used or installed incorrectly; 30 per cent of kids in booster seats did not meet the legal weight minimum; and 52 per cent of kids in seat belts did not fit safely without a booster seat.

The COVID-19 vaccine dashboard data is refreshed weekly on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. and reflects totals as of approximately 8:30 a.m. on the day of the refresh.

For up to the minute updates

This series promotes education and awareness about Opioids and Mental Health.

Kitchen Table Talk – Opioids 101

During this Kitchen Table Talk, attendees had the opportunity to learn about opioid and naloxone truths from frontline workers and people with lived experience. This Table Talk is in cooperation with Wellington Guelph Drug Strategy.

Naloxone Training & kits will be provided.
If you are interested in bringing this Kitchen Table Talk Series to your community within Wellington County, please contact [email protected].

Kitchen Table Talk – Mental Health

Partnering with the Canadian Mental Health Association and The Suicide Awareness Council of Guelph Wellington, Safe Communities Wellington County’s Intentional Self Harm Group has created a Kitchen Table Talk on Mental Health. Real People – Their Stories – Creating Conversation Around Mental Health and Well Being through Guided Discussions. Our Spring Kitchen Table Talk focused on Death by Suicide and Sucide Attempt Survivors and the impact & journey’s people have taken afterward.