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What are the leading causes of death in Canada?

Cancer and heart disease are still the reigning causes of death across the country.

Updated

Fact checked

Every year, Statistics Canada records the number of deaths across Canada — and the major diseases that Canadians are dying from. We combed through this data to find the leading causes of death, as well as which conditions were different among men and women.

The 10 leading causes of death in Canada

To get these numbers, we looked at the Statistics Canada latest mortality data. Interestingly, we learned that all of the top 10 leading causes of death didn’t change between 2017 and 2018, except cerebrovascular diseases which surpassed accidental deaths to reach the number 3 spot. Generally speaking, however, the data shows that Canadians are falling victim to the same diseases and health conditions year-after-year, and getting involved in a similar amount of accidents.

For both men and women, the leading causes of death were cancer and heart disease.

However, men had a higher incidence of accidents and suicide, while more women died from kidney diseases and cerebrovascular diseases. These differences aside, the list of common deaths was made up of the usual suspects, including Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and pneumonia.

Take a look at the graphs and tables below to get a more detailed picture on the 10 leading causes of death in Canada.

What are chronic lower respiratory diseases (CLRDs)?

CLRDs are conditions that affect the lungs, such as:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) — including emphysema and chronic bronchitis
  • Asthma
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Occupational lung diseases

While these diseases are typically associated with smoking, non-smokers can also contract them.

Disclosing smoking to your life insurance provider

The top 10 causes of death for men

These were the leading causes of death among Canadian men. As you’ll see, it’s fairly similar to the shared list — though more men died from accidents and suicide.

The top 10 causes of death for women

As for Canadian women, the incidence of kidney diseases and cerebrovascular diseases were higher than that of men in 2018.

What’s the average life expectancy in Canada?

With all this talk of death, it’s important to keep in mind that living in Canada means your odds of dying are still relatively low. The average life expectancy is 79.9 years for men and 84.1 years for women. While there are many factors that can impact your life expectancy, like your environment and family history, the majority of Canadians live long lives.

How we collected this data

To learn about the leading causes of death among Canadians, we turned to the Statistics Canada mortality data.

Statistics Canada analyzes deaths and diseases each year, with the most recent data focused on 2018. We’ll update this page as new data is released.

Compare life insurance companies

While no one can predict the future, life insurance can be a good way to help your loved ones even if the worst should happen. If you’re thinking about getting life insurance, compare quality providers in the list below.

Name Product Types of Insurance Coverage Range Issue Ages Medical Exam Required Province Availability
Manulife Life Insurance
Term Life Insurance
$100,000 - $1,000,000
18 - 70 years old
No
Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, British Columbia
Manulife's CoverMe Term life insurance is simple and straightforward coverage that suits your lifestyle and budget. Get a free quote on PolicyMe.
Canada Protection Plan Life Insurance
Canada Protection Plan Life Insurance
Term Life Insurance
$50,000-$1,000,000
18 - 70 years old
No
Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, British Columbia
Canada Protection Plan's Preferred Term life insurance is suitable for those in good health. Get a free quote on PolicyMe.
BMO Life Insurance
Term Life Insurance
$100,000 - $5,000,000
18 - 75 years old
No
Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, British Columbia
BMO Term life insurance provides you with coverage for 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years. Get a free quote on PolicyMe.
Assumption Life Insurance
Assumption Life Insurance
Term Life Insurance
$50,000-$4,000,000
18 - 75 years old
No
Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, British Columbia
Choose from five different term life insurance plans with Assumption Life. Get a free quote on PolicyMe.
 Life Insurance Through PolicyAdvisor
Whole Life Insurance, Term Life Insurance, Permanent, Universal
$25,000 - $5,000,000
18 - 72 years old
No
Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario
Policy Advisor is a digital life insurance brokerage that has partnerships with 20 insurers in Canada.
Sun Life Go Simplified Term Life Insurance
Term Life Insurance
$50,000-$100,000
18 - 69 years old
No
All of Canada
Sun Life Go Simplified Term Life Insurance covers you for 10 years, during which time your premiums are guaranteed not to rise. Apply for up to $100,000 in coverage.
Sun Life Go Term Life Insurance
Term Life Insurance
$100,000 - $1,000,000
18 - 69 years old
No
All of Canada
Sun Life Go Term Life Insurance is a standard term life insurance option that guarantees your premiums in the first 10 or 20 years of your policy.
Sun Life Go Guaranteed Life Insurance
Permanent
$5,000 - $25,000
30 - 74 years old
No
All of Canada
Permanent life insurance coverage that guarantees fixed premiums until 95 years old (and no premiums thereafter).
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Bottom line

Understanding the leading causes of death is just one of many factors life insurance companies will take into account when determining your rates. A good life insurance policy can protect your family financially if you pass away prematurely, and give you the peace of mind in knowing that your loved ones will be taken care of when you’re gone. To get great coverage at a premium you can afford, compare life insurance companies.

Compare online will companies

Name Product Cost Last Will & Testament Power of Attorney Free Revisions Available Provinces
Willful Online Wills
$99.00-$149.00
Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Saskatchewan
Choose from three different pricing plans and complete your will in under 20 minutes, with guidance every step of the way. Couples save 16% with the family plan.
Epilogue Wills
$139.00-$179.00
Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Saskatchewan
Choose from two different pricing plans and create a legally-binding will in under 20 minutes. Use promo code FINDER20 for $20.00 off.
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