Health Status of Canadians 2016: Report of the Chief Public Health Officer - Key messages

Key messages

How healthy are we?

  • Canadians are living longer than ever with an average life expectancy of 82 years, although life expectancy in Canada is not the same for everyone.
  • More babies are being born with a low birth weight than in the past. A higher proportion of babies with a low birth weight are born to mothers under the age of 20, and between the ages of 35 to 49 years.
  • The proportion of Canadians who reported a strong sense of community belonging in 2014 was lowest among those aged 20 to 34 years.
  • Almost 90% of Canadians reported feeling in good to excellent health - the highest proportion of people among G7 countries.
  • At 70%, most Canadians considered their mental health to be either very good or excellent in 2014. People living in lower income households had lowered perceived mental health.

What is influencing our health?

  • The gap between the highest and lowest income groups is widening. Men and women are now equally likely to have a low income.
  • More Canadians are completing their high school and post-secondary education than ever before - in 2015, 90 % finished high school and 66 % were a post-secondary graduate..
  • Canadians with the lowest incomes report the highest rates of core housing need and food insecurity. In 2011, 29% of women single-parent households were in core housing need and 54% of First Nations on-reserve households reported food insecurity in 2008/2010.
  • The vast majority of Canadians do not meet recommended levels of physical activity with 9 out 10 children and youth not meeting the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines.
  • The proportion of Canadians who smoke is decreasing, but over 4 million Canadians currently smoke.
  • Immunization rates for measles and DPT in Canada are below national immunization coverage goals of 97% by age 2.

How are we unhealthy?

  • Cancer continues to be the leading cause of death in Canada.
  • In 2014, Canadians with the lowest income were twice as likely to report living with cardiovascular disease than those of the highest income.
  • The proportion of Canadians 20 years and older with diabetes almost doubled between 2000 and 2011 - up from 6% to 10%.
  • The proportion of Canadians reporting having been injured in the previous year increased to 16% in 2014 from 13% in 2003. An estimated 20% to 30% of seniors fall each year in Canada.
  • The proportion of Canadians saying they had been diagnosed with a mood disorder increased from 5% in 2003 to 8% in 2014.
  • In 2011, just over 340,000 Canadians, were diagnosed with dementia, representing an estimated 2% of the Canadian population aged 40 years and older.
  • Tuberculosis rates for Indigenous and foreign-born populations in Canada are higher than the overall Canadian population. Rates are almost 50 times higher for the Inuit.
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