For Canadians under 45, accidents are the leading cause of both death and hospitalization. For the Canadian population as a whole, accidents rank fourth as a cause of death, after cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer and respiratory disease. This article analyzes accident mortality and hospitalization in Canada using age-specific rates, age-standardized mortality rates (ASMR), and potential years of life lost (PYLL). The six major causes of accidental death for men are motor vehicle traffic accidents (MVTA), falls, drowning, fires, suffocation and poisoning. For women, the order is slightly different: MVTA, falls, fires, suffocation, poisoning and drowning. From 1971 to 1986, age-standardized mortality rates (ASMR) for accidents decreased by 44% for men and 39% for women. The largest decrease occurred in the under 15 age group. Accidents accounted for 11.5% of total hospital days in 1985, and 8% of hospital discharges. Because young people have the highest rates of accidental death, potential years of life lost (PYLL) are almost as high for accidents as for cardiovascular disease, although CVD deaths outnumbered accidental deaths by almost five to one in 1985.