Stats Canada

StatCan: Covid-19 largest contributor of decline of life expectancy in Canada 

eAwaz Health

Ottawa – The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an appreciable impact on the lives of Canadians. In its commitment to keep Canadians informed of the effects of the pandemic, Statistics Canada has been releasing and updating provisional figures on mortality on a monthly basis with the most recent information available. The most recent provisional data were released on January 10, 2022, covering the period ending November 6, 2021. Today, Statistics Canada is releasing more comprehensive insights on deaths that occurred in 2020, the year in which the pandemic began.

There were 307,205 deaths in Canada in 2020, the year in which the COVID-19 pandemic began, an increase of 21,935 (+7.7%) over the 285,270 deaths observed in 2019. While some year-to-year increase in the number of deaths is expected due to the growth and aging of the population, the pandemic has had a significant impact on mortality in Canada, contributing to the largest annual decline in life expectancy since the vital statistics registration system was introduced in 1921. COVID-19 became the third leading cause of death, with the loss of 16,151 Canadian lives attributed directly to the disease in 2020. Beyond deaths attributed to COVID-19 itself, the pandemic may have also had indirect consequences that increased or decreased the number of other deaths across Canada.

Statistics Canada will continue to update, on a monthly basis, more recent data on deaths, causes of death and comorbidities as these data become available, in order to keep Canadians informed.

Life expectancy fell by more than half a year in 2020, the largest single-year decline in Canada since national vital statistics started to be collected in 1921

Nationally, life expectancy, estimated on an annual basis, was 81.7 years in 2020, a decline of 0.6 years compared with the figure in 2019 (82.3). This was the largest annual decrease ever observed in Canada since 1921, the year that the vital statistics system was introduced. This decrease was greater for males (0.7 years) than for females (0.4 years).

Across Canada, the largest declines were observed in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. Similar to the national trend, the decrease was generally greater for males than females, with the exception of Quebec. On the other hand, in British Columbia, life expectancy for females remained relatively stable.