Health of Canadians
Summary and future directions

This report highlights trends in general and mental health, reproductive health, chronic conditions, mortality, health behaviours, substance use, and access to health care in Canada. Canadians are living longer and spending more years in good health; however, Canada still ranks lower than other OECD countries according to both life expectancy and health-adjusted life expectancy.

Birth and total fertility rates are declining. The current fertility rate in Canada is 1.4, well below the population replacement rate of 2.1.Note 12 Rates of stillbirths and maternal mortality have been increasing, and, while infant mortality has been declining, it remains higher than in other OECD countries.Note 21

Almost half of Canada’s population, and more among those aged 65 and older, reported having a chronic disease. Canadians with the lowest household incomes had greater multimorbidity and prevalence of chronic disease compared with those with the highest household incomes. The incidence of some chronic diseases, such as lung cancer, is declining, while the prevalence of some conditions, such as heart disease and obesity, is increasing. Decreases in lung cancer incidence among males correspond to reductions in cigarette smoking over the past several decades. Increases in other chronic diseases, such as obesity and heart disease, coincide with changes in health behaviours, including declining physical activity rates and reduced fruit and vegetable consumption.

Self-reported positive mental health has been declining, and the prevalence of anxiety and mood disorders has increased. This has been particularly evident for certain population groups, particularly young adults and, specifically, young females. The prevalence of anxiety and mood disorders has increased for First Nations people living off reserve and Métis compared with non-Indigenous people. Canadians in the lowest-income households reported less positive mental health compared with those with the highest income.

While most Canadians had a regular health care provider, 4.7 million did notNote 51 and almost 2.5 million Canadians had unmet health care needs.Note 82 Population aging and the increasing prevalence of some chronic conditions mean that the need for home care services is growing. In 2021, 3.2% of Canadians used home care services, and 1.6% had unmet home care needs.Note 51 Canadians with the lowest incomes used home care services more and had higher unmet needs for home care than Canadians with higher incomes.

The structure of Canada’s population is diverse and is continuing to change. Statistics Canada will continue to monitor and report on population health outcomes, health behaviours, access to health care, and the determinants of health through ongoing survey data collection (e.g., the Canadian Community Health Survey and the Canadian Health Measures Survey); administrative sources (e.g., Canadian Vital Statistics and the Canadian Cancer Registry); and innovative methods, such as data integration (e.g., the Canadian Census Health and Environment Cohorts) and the Statistics Canada Biobank, which stores biospecimens (e.g., DNA, whole blood and urine) from consenting Canadians to support health-related research projects and create health monitoring opportunities to benefit the health of Canadians.

In collaboration with partners, Statistics Canada is also developing several new health surveys that address health data gaps, including oral health care and access to health care.

Furthermore, results from the 2022 Mental Health and Access to Care Survey are set to be released in September 2023. They will include data on mental health conditions, chronic conditions, and access to mental health care services.

Date modified: