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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

Thomas StorringDirector – Economics and Statistics
Tel: 902-424-2410Email:

May 11, 2023

Statistics Canada has provided provisional information on deaths in Canada up to March 4, 2023. This includes deaths attributable to all causes; fluctuations from one week to the next may be attributable to many different causes of death. The data does not include all deaths that occurred during the reference period.

Most provinces have not reported their results up to March 4; only Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia have reported to this date.  Information is not complete for recent months in:

Newfoundland and Labrador (to February 25, 2023)
Prince Edward Island (to February 25, 2023)
Nova Scotia (to February 4, 2023)
New Brunswick (to January 14, 2023)
Ontario (to November 19, 2022)
Manitoba (to March 26, 2022)
Saskatchewan (to January 28, 2022)
With limited information from several provinces, national estimates are available up to December 31, 2022.

Nova Scotia reported significant excess mortality above the upper bound of expected deaths throughout much of November, December and January, following intermittent weeks of adjusted deaths in excess of the upper bounds for expected mortality.

Nationally, there were several consecutive weeks of adjusted deaths above the upper bound of expected deaths through the summer and early fall.  However, in recent data, adjusted deaths in Canada have fallen to be closer to the upper bound of expected deaths. 

In the latter parts of 2022 there have been extended periods of significant excess mortality (adjusted deaths in excess of the upper bound for estimated mortality) in Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.  There have been more recent episodes of excess mortality above the upper bound for estimated mortality in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.  In 2023, deaths have returned to within the upper bound for estimated mortality in Quebec and Saskatchewan and have fallen to be closer to the upper bounds for Alberta and British Columbia.  


Statistics Canada cautions that: "...even without a pandemic, there is always some year-to-year variation in the number of deaths in a given week. As such, the number of expected deaths should fall within a certain range of values. There is evidence of excess mortality when weekly deaths are consistently higher than the expected number, but especially when they exceed the range of what is expected over several consecutive weeks."

Further, Statistics Canada notes that: "There are also several challenges that come with measuring excess mortality, most importantly properly estimating the number of expected deaths that would occur in a non-COVID-19 context as a basis for comparison with current death counts. Significant variations may be observed from year to year in the annual death counts, especially in the least-populated provinces and the territories. Moreover, yearly death counts may be affected by changes in the composition of the population, particularly regarding age and changes in mortality rates (e.g., reduced mortality). In the Canadian context, with an aging and growing population, the number of deaths has been increasing steadily in recent years, so a higher number of deaths in 2021 and 2022 would be expected, regardless of COVID-19."

Source: Statistics Canada.  Table  13-10-0768-01   Weekly death counts, by age group and sexTable 13-10-0784-01 Adjusted number of deaths, expected number of deaths and estimates of excess mortality, by week

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