Health Status of Canadians 2016: Report of the Chief Public Health Officer

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Organization: Public Health Agency of Canada

Type: Report

Published: 2016-12-15

A message from Canada's Chief Public Health Officer

Health is fundamental to our quality of life and to Canada's prosperity in the world. I think most Canadians would agree that their health and the health of their loved ones is what matters most to them.

Using a collection of health indicators to monitor the health status of a population helps us understand areas where we are doing well and those areas where we can improve. This report tells us Canadians are experiencing good health on a number of measures - almost 90 percent of Canadians reported having good to excellent health. If you feel healthy, then you likely are healthy. Canada's average life expectancy of 82 years ranks us as among the healthiest nations in the world. A long life-expectancy reflects well on many social and environmental factors in Canada that influence our health.

There are some worrisome trends. Over a relatively short period of time, the proportion of Canadians living with diabetes has almost doubled from 6% in 2000 to 10% in 2011. This is a concern as we know that more Canadians living with type 2 diabetes is linked to a higher proportion of people with an unhealthy diet, low physical activity and higher rates of overweight and obesity - which are all associated with higher rates of other diseases and conditions.

In addition, some Canadians are not as healthy as others or are at higher risk for poor health outcomes.

  • In 2008/2010, more than half of First Nations households on reserve reported not having access to enough safe, affordable and nutritious food;
  • In 2011, almost a third of women single-parent households reported living in housing that was not adequate, not affordable and/or not suitable;
  • Between 1991 and 2006, men in the lowest income group died of cancer at a rate more than double that of women in the highest income group; and,
  • In 2014, the rate of new or retreatment cases of tuberculosis was almost 50 times higher in the Inuit population than in the Canadian population overall.

This snapshot is a useful tool to help bring us closer to narrowing health gaps in Canada and preventing illness in the most vulnerable.

Ultimately, my hope is that this report provides a glimpse to all Canadians about the health of our country while illustrating how many different factors interact to makes us healthy.


Many individuals and organizations have contributed to the development of Health Status of Canadians 2016: A Report of the Chief Public Health Officer.

I would like to express my appreciation to the consultants who provided invaluable expert advice:

  • Dr. David Mowat, Canadian Partnership Against Cancer;
  • Dr. Daryl Pullman, Memorial University;
  • Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc, University of British Columbia
  • Dr. Jeff Reading, University of Victoria;
  • Dr. John Frank, University of Edinburgh;
  • Dr. Michael Routledge, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer, Manitoba;
  • Dr. Peter Donnelly, President and Chief Executive Officer of Public Health Ontario, and;
  • Dr. Peter Glynn, Health Systems Consultant

In addition, I would also like to recognize contributions made by partners and stakeholders who were consulted on the report under tight timelines, including: Drs. Beth Jackson and Malgorzata Goshia Miszkurka as well as Alain Demers, Catherine Pelletier, Cynthia Robitaille, Karen Roberts and Louise McRae from the Public Health Agency of Canada's Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Branch; Jennifer Pennock and Lyne Cantin from the Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Branch; Bill Martin, Cameron Coulby, Grace Huang, Heather Tait, Isabelle Ouellet, Jessica Dwyer, Julie Stokes, Kathleen Lydon-Hassen, Kerri Watkins, Nany Grimard-Ouellette, Sabrina Chung, Veeran-Anne Singh and Victoria Smith from Health Canada's First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, and; Dr. Ricardo Batista-Moliner.

I would also like to sincerely thank members of my report unit and support staff: Dr. Stephanie Rees-Tregunno, Michael Halucha, Judith O'Brien, Rhonda Fraser, Meheria Arya, Fatimah Elbarrani, Crystal Stroud, Michelle MacRae and Lori Engler-Todd.

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