Leading Causes Of Deaths In Canada

Cancer, heart disease, and stroke currently claim the highest numbers of victims in Canada, collectively being responsible for over 50% deaths in the country.

Development Indicators Canada

In Canada, life expectancy at birth as of 2014 was 81.67 years, compared to the United States which was 79.56 years. This could be because Canada spends more on healthcare than the US. The death rate in Canada, as of 2014, was 8.31 deaths per 1000 of the population (8.31/1000), compared to the United States which was 8.15/1000. Canada's infant mortality rate in 2014 was 4.71 deaths per 1000 live births in Canada, compared to the United States which was 6.17 per 1000 live births. Although improvements have been recorded over past decades, Canada still has one of the highest infant mortality rates among the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries (OECD). Infant mortality rate is especially higher for Aboriginals, reflecting the need for improvement in maternal and infant health services.

The Health Sector

Canada primarily has a universal healthcare system which is publicly funded and covers all Individuals in the country. Hence, everyone is entitled to an equal level of care, regardless of race, social status, gender, etc. However, there may be slight differences in health coverage by province. This Universal healthcare system covers treatments ranging from prescriptions to surgeries, but not cosmetic surgeries. All individuals must possess a valid health card to be eligible for health services. In addition to public health which is provided by the government, there are also private clinics.


Despite Canada's affordable healthcare system, some areas still offer room for improvement. In the province of Ontario, for instance, and other provinces as well, the most common problem is the availability of beds for patients. This decreased availability has subsequently resulted in long wait times before individuals have access to physicians or are discharged from hospitals. Those in rural areas typically experience problems with accessing hospitals due to the cost of transportation. As a majority of provinces in the country usually have ambulance fees which can be very high, most people decide not to call an ambulance even in cases of emergency. This limited access to hospitals is problematic, seeing that this is the population that is more likely to need healthcare, due to a number of factors such as poverty. Access to out-of-hospital treatments such as home-care is also expensive and thus very limited.

Malignant Neoplasms (Cancer)

Cancer is a dangerous growth or malignant tumor resulting from uncontrolled cell-division. Cancers are usually life-threatening in nature and affect parts of the body such as the breast, brain, lungs, etc. The most prevalent of these cancers is lung cancer for both men and women. The reason this is a leading cause of death is due to high tobacco and alcohol use among people in Canada. High-fat diets also contribute to this ailment, especially pancreatic cancer.

Diseases Of Heart (Heart Disease)

These are any series of diseases affecting the heart, e.g., heart attacks. The prevalence of high tobacco consumption rates, poor diet, and sedentary lifestyles are risk factors for heart diseases. Furthermore, only a small percentage of youths incorporate exercise into their daily lives. An inactive lifestyle coupled with high-calorie diets leads to obesity and subsequently various heart diseases. High indulgence in cigarette smoking and alcohol use by most of the population equally contributes to heart diseases.

Cerebrovascular Diseases (Stroke)

Stroke is caused by an interrupted supply of blood to the brain and is a leading cause of death in Canada for a variety of reasons, especially high sodium intake. High salt intake leads to high blood pressure or hypertension, and once this happens, stroke becomes highly probable. A vast number of Canadians especially adults consume relatively high amounts of salt daily in pre-packaged foods especially, thus the reason for this disease being a leading cause of death in the country. Smoking and alcohol abuse which is high in Canada can also be a contributing factor.

Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases

These are diseases affecting the supply of oxygen to the lungs, e.g., asthma. The reason for this being a leading cause of death is due primarily to air pollution, like smoking. This includes both individual smoking and second-hand exposure. Research shows that tobacco use is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in Canada, signifying over-indulgence in smoking. Emissions from Industries which is relatively high as a developed country also affects air quality and increases the risk of Chronic lower respiratory diseases.

Accidents (unintentional injuries)

These are unexpected occurrences that could take place in a matter of split seconds and range from vehicle accidents to falls and drowning. The most common in this country is, however, vehicle accidents and falls. Most accidents tend to occur during summer, when people are in high spirits. Drunk driving is common during this period, as well as drowning because of swimming/water sports.

Diabetes Mellitus (diabetes)

The body's inability to produce sufficient insulin for sugar conversion results in diabetes. Due to the high daily intake of sugar in Canada, this disease is a leading cause of death. Sugars exist in foods in different forms, like prepackaged foods and drinks or beverages. During Canada's extreme winter season, for instance, beverage consumption increases, and during the summer, soda/juice intake also becomes very high, and this is a risk factor for diabetes.

Alzheimer's Disease

This is a gradual loss of memory, which becomes worse at each stage. There are a number of reasons for Alzheimer's being a leading cause of death, and all of these are already risk factors for other diseases in the country. Some reasons include diabetes, hypertension (heart diseases), repetitive head injuries (e.g., accidents resulting from falls), smoking, etc. All these factors are linked to the above mentioned leading causes of death in Canada. For instance, high sugar intake which is a serious issue in the country, causes diabetes, and diabetes, in turn, increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Influenza And Pneumonia

Influenza is a respiratory disease caused by a series of different influenza viruses which may lead to pneumonia if it becomes serious. Pneumonia is a viral infection where the air sacs in the lungs become inflamed and full of pus. The reason for these being leading causes of death is due to Canada's extreme cold climates, as these ailments are usually on the rise between November and April-the winter season.

Intentional Self-Harm (suicide)

There is no particular reason for this being a leading cause of death, but research usually points towards depression which is quite high in the country. People who have experienced traumatic events are the most likely population to self-harm or commit suicide. This is indeed true as the Aboriginals of Canada, who are known to experience the highest levels of poverty are more likely to self-harm or commit suicide.

Nephritis, Nephrotic Syndrome, And Nephrosis

Kidney disease also known as renal failure is the impairment of the kidney, and its subsequent inability to carry out metabolic activity. This is a leading cause of death primarily due to diabetes which is already high in the country. Therefore, people who already have diabetes due to high sugar intake are more susceptible to this disease.

The leading causes of death for other developed nations, especially the US, is also similar to that of Canada. People from these nations are most likely to die from any of the above ailments. In contrast to developing nations, only cerebrovascular, heart and lower respiratory diseases feature into the list of the leading causes of death. People in these parts of the world are more likely to die from infections, such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, etc.

Leading Causes Of Deaths In Canada

RankCause of DeathNumber Of Victims, 2012% Of Total Deaths
1Malignant neoplasms (cancer)74,36130.2
2Diseases of heart (heart disease)48,68119.7
3Cerebrovascular diseases (stroke)13,1745.3
4Chronic lower respiratory diseases11,1304.5
5Accidents (unintentional injuries)11,2904.6
6Diabetes mellitus (diabetes)6,9932.8
7Alzheimer's disease6,2932.6
8Influenza and pneumonia5,6942.3
9Intentional self-harm (suicide)3,9261.6
10Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis (kidney disease)3,3271.3

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