Twenty Years of Diabetes surveillance using the Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System

What is diabetes?

Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to produce and/or use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar (blood glucose) and is essential for normal bodily functionFootnote 1. There are three main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1: Body does not produce insulin.
  • Type 2: Body can produce insulin but either not enough, or is not able to use it properly.
  • Gestational diabetes: A temporary condition during pregnancy when the body can produce insulin but is not able to use it properly.

According to national data:

  • Almost 3.2 million Canadians are living with diabetesFootnote 2.
    • That is:
      • 1 in 333 children (ages 1 to 19 years)
      • 1 in 9 adults (aged 20 years and older)
  • An average of 549 Canadians are diagnosed with diabetes every dayFootnote 2
    • that is approximately 201,000 new cases per year
  • Among Canadian adults (aged 20 years and older)
    • 6.1% have pre-diabetesFootnote 3
    • 7.0% have high blood glucoseFootnote 3 and 1.7% live with undiagnosed high blood glucose
    • 90.3% have blood glucose in the normal range
  • 1 in 10 women who give birth have diabetes while pregnantFootnote 4
  • The all-cause mortality rate among Canadians with diabetes is twice as high as the all-cause mortality rate for those without diabetesFootnote 2

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Organization: Public Health Agency of Canada
Date published:11-12-2019

Type 2 diabetes

Risk factor

  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Unhealthy diet
  • EthnicityFootnote *
  • Increased age
  • Sex
  • Lower socio-economic status


  • Reduced life expectancy
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Vision loss
  • Kidney failure
  • Nerve damage
  • Amputations

Who is at risk?

Diabetes surveillance in Canada: How has the CCDSS evolved over time?

1997- National Diabetes Surveillance System (NDSS) Steering Committee formed
1999 - National Diabetes Surveillance System (NDSS) established
2003 - First report of the NDSS: Responding to the challenge of diabetes in Canada
2005 - The NDSS expands to the Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System (CCDSS) to include other chronic diseases
2010 - New conditions added to CCDSS
2019 - 20 years of diabetes surveillance using the CCDSS

Have rates of diabetes changed over time?

Between 2000 and 2016, the proportion of Canadians living with diabetes has increased by an average of 3.3% per year, but the rate of new cases has remained stable. Deaths among those with diabetes have decreased.

The CCDSS is updated annually and is supported by a pan-Canadian partnership between the Public Health Agency of Canada and all provinces and territories

See more at: Diabetes in Cananda data blog

Visit: and search 'Diabetes'
Get data: Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System Data tool
Follow us: @GovCanHealth
Like us: @HealthyCdns

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