COVID-19 pandemic led to largest drop in Canadian life expectancy on record, data shows

By Kevin Misener

New data on the life expectancy of Canadians paints a stark picture of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the new Health of People in Canada Dashboard, life expectancy dropped 0.4 years from 2019 going into early 2020 – the largest drop on record.

The average life expectancy in Canada as of 2020 was around 82, with women averaging 84 years and men at 80.

The average health-adjusted life expectancy – a measure of how many healthy years Canadians have left – averages just 69.7.

Quebec has the highest life expectancy at 82.6 years, just ahead of Ontario at 82.3. Manitoba and Newfoundland have the lowest life expectancy at 79.9 years.

Canadians live slightly longer on average than people in the United Kingdom and United States, but not as long as those in Japan, Italy and France.

The data also shows that the virus quickly became a leading cause of death in Canada, behind cancer and heart disease.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, says the new interactive dashboard will become an integral part of her annual reporting on the overall health of Canadians.

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