Canadians’ life expectancy fell for the third year in a row in 2022, and more people have died from COVID-19 than in any other year since the start of the pandemic, says a report published on Monday.
Statistics Canada’s analysis of deaths last year shows that the average life expectancy of Canadians will drop to 81.3 years in 2022, a full year lower than the 82.3 years recorded in 2019. .
“Life expectancy decreases when there are more deaths, when deaths occur at younger ages, or a combination of the two,” explained the report.
COVID-19 became the third leading cause of death for Canadians last year, surpassing accidents and unintentional injuries for the first time since the disease emerged in 2020.
“This increase may be partly due to exposure to new highly transmissible variants of COVID-19 and the gradual return to normality,” the report said, highlighting the easing of restrictions and the removing the obligation to wear a mask.
More than 19,700 Canadians died from COVID-19 last year, according to Statistics Canada. The elderly have been hit the hardest by this increase, with those aged 80 and over seeing a 78% increase in COVID deaths last year compared to the year before.
In Atlantic Canada, the death rate from COVID-19 was more than seven times higher last year than the year before — the highest increase of any region in the country, the federal agency said.
People aged 65 and over accounted for 91.4% of all deaths attributed to COVID-19 in 2022, according to the report.
Cancer and heart disease are the first and second most common causes of death, accounting for 41.8% of all deaths in 2022.
New Brunswick saw the biggest decline in life expectancy among the provinces, falling more than a year to 79.8 years, compared to 80.9 years in 2021, according to the report. Life expectancy in Saskatchewan decreased the most in the past three years combined, falling by two full years from 80.5 in 2019 to 78.5 in 2022. Prince Island -Édouard was not included in the annual data that was broken down by province
Life expectancy decreased significantly in Quebec, according to the report, from 82.79 years to 82.63 years.
The increase in youth deaths last year was due to deaths investigated by a coroner or medical examiner, which often include suicides, homicides and deaths from drug poisoning.