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Canadian Community Health Survey: Combined data, 2013/2014

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Released: 2015-06-24

Data from the combined Canadian Community Health Survey found that of the 11.9 million Canadians, age 12 and older, who rode a bicycle during the study period of 2013/2014, 42% always put on a helmet.

The survey results also showed that more than three-quarters of Canadians, 12 and older, had good to full functional health in 2013/2014, according to the Health Utility Index Mark 3.

Helmet use

Mandatory bicycle helmet use for all ages is the law in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. In Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta, the legislation only applies to children under 18.

In the provinces that have mandatory helmet laws covering youth aged 12 to 17, 42.5% reported they always wore a helmet when bicycling. In comparison, 23.5% of youth aged 12 to 17 always wore a helmet in provinces that do not legislate mandatory use.

Overall, 18- to 19-year-olds were the least likely to always wear a helmet when bicycling.

For other recreational pursuits that could involve the use of a helmet, in 2013/2014, snowboarders and downhill skiers had the highest proportion of people reporting they always wore a helmet (around 68% for both activities), while skateboarders had the lowest proportion (21.1%).

Rating functional health

The Health Utility Index Mark 3 measures a person's functional health based on eight attributes: vision, hearing, speech, mobility, dexterity, emotion, cognition and pain. A score of 0.8 to 1.0 is considered to be good to full functional health. Nearly four out of five (78.6%) Canadians 12 or older fell within this range in 2013/2014.

Generally, functional health decreases with age. Among those aged 75 and older, 57.5% reported good to full functional health, compared with about 84% of those between the ages of 20 and 44—the highest proportion of those reporting good to full functional health among all age groups.

Males were also more likely to score higher than females at all ages, except for those aged 20 to 34, where there was no difference.


In 2013/2014, 15.8% of Canadians aged 12 or older suffered an injury severe enough to affect their normal routines. Males (17.4%) were more likely than females (14.3%) to have had an injury. The most common injuries reported were sprains (51.5%), followed by broken or fractured bones (15.5%).

Participating in sports or physical exercise was the leading cause of injuries, as reported by 33.5% of those injured. The next most likely cause was participating in unpaid work such as household chores, outdoor yard maintenance or home renovation (15.0%).

Repetitive strain injuries

In some cases, muscle, tendon or nerve injuries happen as a result of overuse or repetitive movements over an extended period. In 2013/2014, 15.0% of Canadians (4.5 million people) reported an injury due to repetitive strain, with males and females equally likely to report this type of injury.

Of those dealing with a repetitive strain injury, 55.4% reported that their injury was serious enough to limit their normal activities. Females were more likely than males to report that their repetitive strain injury limited their activities.

Shoulders (22.6%) were the most common body part affected by repetitive strain injuries, followed by elbows (15.0%), wrists (12.8%), knees (12.3%) and the lower back (12.4%).

Sexual behaviours

In 2013/2014, 92.2% of Canadians (11.8 million people) between the ages of 15 and 49 who have ever had sex were sexually active in the previous 12 months. Around 1.8 million of those sexually active (14.9%) reported that they had two or more sexual partners in that time.

The proportion of those who had two or more sexual partners decreased with age, from 37.1% of Canadians between the ages of 15 and 19, to 6.7% of those aged 40 to 49. In every age group, males were more likely than females to report having multiple sexual partners in the previous 12 months.

Females who had two or more sexual partners in the previous year were more likely to be diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection in their lifetime. Almost 19% of females reported that they had been diagnosed, compared with 11.9% of males who had multiple sexual partners in the previous year.

In 2013/2014, of the 1.8 million sexually active Canadians aged 15 to 49 who had two or more sexual partners, 57.5% used a condom the last time they had sex. Overall, males were more likely than females to have reported using a condom.

Among those Canadians, condom use decreased with age. Three-quarters of males aged 15 to 19 reported using a condom the last time they had sex, while the figure for females in the same age group was about two-thirds. This compares to 48.7% of males and 41.0% of females aged 40 to 49.

  Note to readers

This article features analysis based on data from the combined 2013/2014 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS). The analysis in this release covers selected health data on sexual behaviours, injuries and repetitive strain, functional health, and use of protective equipment.

The CCHS collects a wide range of self-reported information about the health status of Canadians, factors determining their health and their use of health care services.

Residents of Indian reserves, health care institutions, some remote areas, and full-time members of the Canadian Forces were excluded. In the North, the frame for the CCHS covers 92% of the targeted population in Yukon, 96% in the Northwest Territories and 92% in Nunavut.

The bicycle helmet use rate for children aged 12 to 17 used in the analysis was based on the rates of those provinces and territories that had mandatory helmet laws covering children aged 12 to 17 during 2013 and 2014. Manitoba was included in the estimate, as its legislation covering 12 to 17 year olds came into effect May 1, 2013. Newfoundland and Labrador was excluded, since its legislation came into effect April 1, 2015, after the survey reference period. Saskatchewan, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories were also excluded, even though they have municipalities with by-laws enforcing helmet use. In the table, the bicycle helmet use rate was based on the rates of all provinces and territories.

Data on injuries included in this analysis were based on the question that asked respondents if they had sustained an injury in the previous 12 months. To be included, the injury must have been serious enough to limit their normal activities the day after it had occurred. For example, a broken bone, a bad cut, a burn or a sprain. Repetitive strain injuries and food poisoning were excluded from data on injuries.

Repetitive strain injuries are injuries to muscles, tendons or nerves caused by overuse or repeating the same movement over an extended period. For example, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow or tendonitis.

Unless otherwise stated, data on sexual behaviours cover people who were sexually active in the 12 months prior to being interviewed and who indicated they had two or more sexual partners during that time. Condom use was reported for their last sexual intercourse.

Annual data from the 2014 Canadian Community Health Survey were released in The Daily on June 17, 2015.


For more statistics and analysis on the health of Canadians and the health care system, visit the Health in Canada module, accessible from our website's home page, under Features.

Additional products featuring the most recent results from the 2013/2014 Canadian Community Health Survey combined data are now available on our website. This includes the Health Fact Sheets (Catalogue number82-625-X): "Quick facts by census metropolitan area, 2013-2014," which features a selection of health indicators for the 34 census metropolitan areas in Canada.

The publication Health Indicators, 2015, no. 1 (Catalogue number82-221-X), is also available from the Browse by key resource module of our website under Publications.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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