Future Work

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The preceding pages have profiled the work of nine of the provincial and territorial coroners and medical examiners, while touching on some of the strengths and limitations of the CCMED. In the future, more focused research topics—for example, deaths involving snowmobiles—will be used to unleash the true analytic and investigative potential of the database. Statistics Canada will continue to work with the project stakeholders, the coroners and medical examiners and the research community to improve the quality, completeness and usefulness of the CCMED. We hope to obtain data from all provinces and territories to make the CCMED a truly representative national coroner and medical examiner database. We will investigate also possible enhancements to the database by linking the CCMED to additional data sources to provide even greater context to the C/ME data. One such data product is the Canadian Vital Statistics: Death Database (CVS-D).

Record linkage of the CCMED to Canadian Vital Statistics: Death Database

A record linkage of the CCMED with the CVS-D will allow the ICD-10 underlying cause and multiple cause-of-death codes to be added to each CCMED record. The underlying cause of death codes are used to select records for particular statistical reports and research projects, and to compare statistics derived from the CCMED with those from other sources, including the CVS-D, that use ICD codes. The CCMED/CVS-D linkage will allow for a complementary and comprehensive analysis of death data which will be extremely valuable for injury prevention and health and safety research, and the development of public health policy.

Data from the CCMED will complement the information we currently have on the CVS-D. The C/ME data provides an in-depth analysis of the circumstances surrounding injury-related deaths, including the use safety devices, the activity at the time of the event leading to death, and the place of the event leading to death. This valuable detail is not available in the CVS-D. The length of time required to finalize a C/ME investigation may range from a few days to 2 years. As a result, the final decision of the C/ME in determining the cause of death may not be incorporated into the CVS-D in time for publication. This may lead to an underestimation of the number of suicides, homicides, and unintentional injuries (accidents) in the mortality data published by Statistics Canada. This in turn leads to an overestimation in the number of deaths classified as "unknown" since they may still be under investigation.

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