Administrator: SMARTRISK
Sponsor: CN, State Farm, Hydro One
Jurisdiction: International
Start date: 1992

Background: SMARTRISK is a national non-profit organization dedicated to preventing injuries and saving lives. It was founded in 1992 by pediatric surgeon Dr. Robert Conn, who realized that far more lives could be saved through prevention than through surgery and rehabilitation. Instead of repairing the excessive damage done to children through injuries, he chose to focus his career on prevention. SMARTRISK has since become one of the leading injury prevention groups in Canada and has international recognition and support.

Goal: The initiative hopes to promote an understanding that risk is a part of life and that taking risk is what makes life worth living for many people. Unlike the negative messaging of traditional “safety” approaches to injury prevention, SMARTRISK programs emphasize the positive choices that can be made to reduce the risk of injury while continuing to enjoy life. They promote the idea that injuries are not “accidents” or unavoidable acts of fate but instead predictable and preventable events. The message is presented in an upbeat and positive manner that encourages young people to have fun and take risks – but smart risks.

Programs: SMARTRISK No Regrets Live a travelling road show for high school students. The show combines a live talk by an injury survivor or someone deeply affected by injury, with video containing clips of young people taking smart risks and more sober images of the results of poor choices that led to someone getting hurt. It implements five universal strategies that youth can fit into their own lifestyles and behaviours: Buckle Up. Look First. Wear the Gear. Get Trained. Drive Sober.

Rather than presenting a list of ‘don’t messages’ that lecture youth about what not to do, SMARTRISK speaks to youth in their language and avoids handing out a list of rules. As well, there is the SMARTRISK No Regrets peer leadership program that promotes smart risks in high schools across Canada. SMARTRISK trains youth leaders and their staff advisers to run injury prevention activities and events in their schools to promote the five messages.


36 Eglinton West, Suite 704
Toronto ON M4R 1A1

Phone: 416-596-2700
Fax: 416-596-2721