Health Canada launches new toll-free number for poison centres

Health Canada has launched a new toll-free number, 1-844-POISON-X, or 1-844-764-7669, to help people across the country access critical medical advice related to poisonings more easily.

The agency made the announcement in a news release Monday marking National Poison Prevention Week. Health Canada says over 1,500 people die annually due to unintentional poisoning from medication, cleaners, cannabis products and other household items.

Health Canada encourages Canadians to educate themselves about how to store potential poisons safely and what to do in case a poisoning occurs.

The current provincial numbers regarding poisoning will remain in service and Canadians can continue using them in addition to the new toll-free number, Health Canada said.

According to Health Canada, accidental poisonings are a leading cause of preventable injury and death in Canada.

“Accidental poisonings can happen to anyone at any time – including from over-the-counter medicines, prescription drugs, illicit substances, alcohol and cannabis.” Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Carolyn Bennett said in the news release. “This new toll-free number will help to save lives, while also helping more Canadians access quality, timely, and evidence-based poison prevention education and related health care expertise.”

Calling the toll-free number will connect Canadians to their local poison centre, regardless of their location.

“Through this new toll-free number, it will be easier to reach a poison centre when it is most needed and help prevent severe illnesses and death. As a result, this will also add a layer of resilience to the health-care system by reducing unnecessary visits to emergency rooms, clinics and the doctor’s office.” Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos said.

Sixty-three per cent of poison cases were managed remotely by poison centres across the country, Health Canada says.

According to the data, in 2022 Canada’s poison centres managed 215,589 cases.


Reporting for this story was paid for through The Afghan Journalists in Residence Project funded by Meta.

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