The life expectancy of Canadians has dropped by half a year in 2020 due to the thousands of deaths attributed to COVID-19, but also because of the opioid crisis which is wreaking more havoc than ever in the West Canadian.
According to a Statistics Canada study released on Monday, the life expectancy of Canadians has plummeted from 82.3 years in 2019 to 81.7 years in 2020, down 0.6 years, or almost seven months. .
“This is the largest annual decline in Canada since 1921, when the vital statistics system was introduced. This decrease was more marked in men (0.7 years) than in women (0.4 years),” said Statistics Canada.
Quebecers, for their part, now have a life expectancy of 82.3 years, also down 0.6 points in 2020. Men have a life expectancy of 80.6 years (-0.5 ), while women have a life expectancy of 84.1 years (-0.7).
In all, no less than 307,205 Canadians died in 2020, 21,935 more than the previous year. While it is normal, due to demography and the aging of the population, to observe an increase in the number of deaths each year, the fact remains that that observed in 2020, established at 7.7%, is far too large and can be explained, in large part, by the pandemic.
The virus, which has contributed to the deaths of 16,151 Canadians, has become the third leading cause of death in the country in 2020 (5.3% of deaths), behind cancers (26.4% of deaths) and heart disease ( 17.5% of deaths).
“Despite the observed decline, life expectancy in Canada in 2020 remained among the highest in the world. In some countries, such as Spain, Italy or the United States, the pandemic has had a more marked impact on life expectancy, with life expectancy at birth experiencing decreases of the order of -1.5 years”, reassured Statistics Canada in its study. Other states, such as the Scandinavian countries, however managed to increase their life expectancy in 2020, despite COVID-19.
The other major cause of excess mortality in the country in recent years, the opioid crisis, also continues to wreak havoc, with 4,604 deaths attributable to poisoning.
After a year of calm, the crisis picked up again in 2020, mainly in Western Canada. Many organizations have explained that COVID-19 has helped isolate drug users, increasing the risk of solitary overdoses.
Also, alcohol consumption was responsible for 542 deaths in 2020, a significant increase compared to the 360 that were recorded, on average, in previous years.