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Discrimination, climate change among risks to Canadian children, report indicates

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An annual report that looks at harms facing Canadian children finds that unintentional injuries pose the biggest risk to kids, followed by poor mental health and systemic discrimination.

The study from charity organization Children First Canada says preventable and accidental injuries are the leading cause of death among kids 14 and under.

Poor mental health is also putting kids at risk, with the study saying a quarter of people between two and 17 years old experience mental-health challenges.

The report, published Wednesday, also highlights the harms to childhood caused by racism and other forms of discrimination.

Read more: Canada to launch 988 mental health crisis hotline in fall 2023. Here’s how it will work

Children First Canada says Indigenous kids are 12 times more likely to be taken out of their homes and placed in foster care than their non-Indigenous counterparts, while transgender teens are seven times more likely to have tried to end their own lives than their peers.

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For the first time, climate change has made the list as its own category, rather than being consider a “crosscutting theme” of the report. Children First Canada says child acute bronchitis linked to wildfires is on the rise.

The purpose of the Raising Canada report is to examine evidence on threats to children’s safety using Google Scholar, databases at the University of Calgary and University of Toronto, and government websites. The group also advocates for change with parents, community institutions and government.

Previous iterations of the study included poverty as its own category of threat, but this year Children First Canada says it grouped that together with food and nutritional insecurity.

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