Canadians’ Life Expectancy Declined in 2022 for Third Year in a Row: StatCan

Canadians’ Life Expectancy Declined in 2022 for Third Year in a Row: StatCan
A Statistics Canada sign is pictured in Ottawa on July 3, 2019. (The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick)
Noé Chartier

Life expectancy in Canada decreased in 2022 for a third year in a row, according to new data released by Statistics Canada.

Canadians lived on average to 81.3 years in 2022, a drop from 81.6 in 2021, the agency notes in a Nov. 27 article. This decline was greater than in 2021 (-0.1 years), but half what was observed from 2019 to 2020 (-0.6 years).

StatCan says there were 334,623 deaths in 2022, which represents an increase of 7.3 percent from 2021. The age-standardized mortality rate also increased from 907.2 deaths per 100,000 population in 2021 to 972.5 deaths in 2022.

The agency notes that the age-standardized mortality rate was 830.5 deaths per 100,000 people in 2019 before COVID-19.

The year 2022 also saw the highest mortality attributed to COVID-19 since the illness appeared, says StatCan, with 19,716 deaths.

“This increase may in part be due to the exposure to new highly transmissible COVID-19 variants and the gradual return to normalcy (e.g., reduced restrictions and masking requirements),” says the agency.

Canada had its first Omicron variant wave in late 2021 to early 2022, and provinces started scaling back restrictions after country-wide protests erupted in January 2022.

StatCan says those 65 years and older accounted for 91.4 percent of COVID-19 deaths in 2022, “approaching early pandemic levels,” with the increase largely consisting of seniors 80 and older.

The agency notes those 65 and older accounted for 94.1 percent of COVID-19 deaths during the first year of the pandemic, meanwhile those aged 45 to 64 accounted for 5.3 percent.

Aside from COVID-19, StatCan notes that cancer and heart disease have remained the leading causes of mortality in 2022, accounting for 41.8 percent of deaths. This was a drop from 44.3 percent in 2021.

StatCan says Canadians are experiencing a diminished life expectancy due to a “number of factors,” but doesn’t expand much on details.

“Life expectancy declines when there are more deaths, when deaths occur at younger ages, or a combination of both,” it says.

The agency says the increased number of deaths among young people can be in part attributed to unintentional injuries, such as overdoses, suicide, and homicides.

Previous analyses by The Epoch Times have shown that young Canadians have experienced much higher excess mortality than the general population since after the first wave of COVID-19.

Canadians up to age 44 saw 27 percent excess mortality in the last five months of 2022, compared to 13 percent for the general population.

Excess mortality takes place when more people die during a given period than normally expected based on trends.

Civil rights group Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) said in an August report that not enough is being done to understand the trend of excess mortality in Canada. It also criticized what it calls lagging reporting on deaths by StatCan.

“What are the scientific, institutional, and political causes behind this failure to capture and understand Canadian data?” asks the report.

One province doing a better job at collecting and publishing data is Quebec, which keeps an updated excess mortality dashboard.

Excess mortality in all ages in Quebec averaged 6.3 percent from July to the end of September. For the 0-49 group over the same period, excess mortality averaged 22.5 percent.