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Thomas StorringDirector – Economics and Statistics
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January 10, 2022
DEATH COUNTS AND EXCESS MORTALITY, OCTOBER 2021

The first death attributed to COVID-19 in Canada was reported in British Columbia occurring on March 8, 2020. As of January 10, 2022 the Public Health Agency of Canada's daily epidemiology update reported that COVID-19 has caused the death of 30,788 people in Canada.

Statistics Canada has provided provisional information on deaths in Canada up to November 6, 2021. 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.  Not all provinces have reported their results up to November; only Prince Edward Island, Alberta and British Columbia have reported to this date.  Information is not complete for recent weeks in:

  • Newfoundland and Labrador (to October 30)
  • Nova Scotia (to October 16)
  • New Brunswick (to September 4)
  • Quebec (to October 16)
  • Ontario (to September 18)
  • Manitoba (to February 6)
  • Saskatchewan (to October 2)

With limited information from several provinces, national estimates are available up to October 2.

A comparison of deaths in 2020 and 2021 with the number of deaths reported in similar weeks in previous years allows highlights whether mortality is higher than usually observed at that time of year.  The number of deaths reported in each week is represented below as a ratio of deaths per 1 million residents (population as of July 1 of the year).  Based on observed historical trends, Statistics Canada has also estimated the expected number of deaths for each week and compared this with observed deaths (adjusted where possible reflecting provisional data).  Estimates of expected deaths are presented with a 95 per cent confidence interval.  

In the data for the summer of 2021, most provinces reported deaths that were consistent with prior years and with expected deaths for that time of year.  The notable exceptions are in Alberta and British Columbia, particularly at the end of June when heat related events coincided with a large increase in the number of reported deaths.  Most provinces reported deaths that were consistent with expected levels in recent data, though there were isolated weeks during which deaths rose above the upper bound of expected levels.  The exceptions were in Alberta and British Columbia, which have reported elevated mortality throughout the summer and fall.

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; Public Health Agency of Canada.  COVID-19 daily epidemiology update