Health regions and peer groups

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"Health region" refers to administrative areas defined by the provincial ministries of health. For complete Canadian coverage, each of the northern territories also represents a health region.

See Table 1 Health regions in Canada – reference maps by province and territory.
See Map – Health regions 2011 by peer group

Health region boundary changes

Since June 2007, only minor changes to health regions have occurred.

  • The province of New Brunswick has made minor name changes to its health regions. The Regions are now referred to as Zones.
  • In November 2010, five new zones were approved for use in Alberta by the Joint Alberta Health Services - Alberta Health and Wellness Geographies Committee. These five zones are aggregations of the previous nine Regional Health Authorities.
  • In 2011, in order to aggregate Nova Scotia District Health Authority (DHA) boundaries to Zone boundaries, Dissemination Area (DA) 12080119 (2006 Census population is 887) was reassigned to Zone 6 from Zone 3. Also reassigned was DA 12080120 from DHA 4 (Zone 3) to DHA 9 (Zone 6), correcting the boundary for both DHAs and Zones.

The boundaries, health region codes and health region names in the remaining provinces and territories have not changed since 2007.

See the following tables for history of changes since 2000:

Table 2-d Summary of changes to health region codes, names and boundaries, 2007 and 2011

Table 2-c Summary of changes to health region codes, names and boundaries, 2005 and 2007

Table 2-b Summary of changes to health region codes, names and boundaries, 2003 and 2005

Table 2-a Summary of Changes to health region codes, names and boundaries, 2000 and 2003

The publication "Health regions: boundaries and correspondence with census geography" describes the health region limits as of the 2011 reference period and their correspondence with the 2006 and 2001 Census geography. However, some data tables within this publication continue to reflect the boundaries in effect as of 2007, 2005 and 2003. These will be updated as new data tables are produced with future issues.

Health region peer groups

In order to effectively compare health regions with similar socio–economic characteristics, health regions have been grouped into 'peer groups'. Statistics Canada used a statistical method to achieve maximum statistical differentiation between health regions. Twenty–four variables were chosen to cover as many of the social and economic determinants of health as possible, using data collected at the health region level mostly from the Census of Canada. Concepts covered include:

  • basic demographics (for example, population change and demographic structure),
  • living conditions (for example, socio-economic characteristics, housing, and income inequality), and
  • working conditions (for example, labour market conditions).

Peer groups based on 2011 health region boundaries and 2006 Census data are now available. There are currently ten peer groups identified by letters A through J.

See Table 3 Health regions 2011 by peer group.
See Table 4 Summary table of peer groups and principal characteristics.

A more detailed discussion on the rationale and methods involved in the development of peer groups is available in "Health Region (2007) Peer Groups – User guide".