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Mental Health in Canada

Interactive Infographic


26 September 2014

According to 2012 Statistics Canada data, nearly one-third (33.1%) of Canadians have been affected by either mental illness or substance abuse issues in their lifetimes. Many of those living with such conditions will not receive the treatment they require, or even have their condition diagnosed by a health professional.

This interactive infographic from healthiersocieties.org allows users to examine cross-provincial differences in the prevalence of several select mental health conditions and utilization of mental health treatment services.

Click here to view the full infographic.

Chronic Conditions, Co-Morbidity, and Healthcare Utilization


8 July 2014

Chronic health conditions affect nearly one half of Canadians aged thirty-five and over, and the proportion of Canadians diagnosed with such conditions is only expected to grow in the coming years. In the past decade, the prevalence of several common chronic health conditions has been increasing steadily, and this trend is expected to continue as the population ages.

In order to better understand the impact of chronic conditions on both Canadians and the Canadian healthcare system, we’ve examined data from the Canadian Community Health Survey between the years 2000 and 2012, and have focused specifically on those living with one of seven common or high-impact chronic conditions – arthritis, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and mood disorders. We highlight changes in prevalence over time, co-morbidity among these conditions, and healthcare utilization by those diagnosed with these conditions.

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Where Canadians Go for Healthcare

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5 June 2014

In 2011-12, only eighty-five percent of Canadians aged 12 and older had a regular doctor, leaving approximately four and a half million Canadians to seek regular medical care from other sources. Using data from the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) for the years 2007-08 through 2011-12, we’ve examined where those without regular doctors typically go to seek medical care and advice, whilst comparing trends across time and across Canadian provinces and territories.

According to data from the 2011-12 cycle of the CCHS, 79.8% of Canadians without a regular doctor indicate having a place that they usually go when they are sick or require advice about their health, leaving only 20.2% – or 3.0% of the total population – without a usual place to seek healthcare. Across provinces and territories, there does exist variation in the proportion of those with a usual place where care is sought, but there are no pronounced regional trends.

Across Canada, walk-in clinics are by far the type of healthcare facility most used by those without a regular doctor, with 60.9% of respondents identifying walk-in clinics as the place they usually go for medical care. Emergency rooms rank second (13.5%), followed by community health centres (8.3%), appointment clinics (4.3%), doctors’ offices (3.3%), hospital outpatient clinics (2.3%), telephone health lines (0.9%), and other places (6.5%).

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Health Behaviours – Smoking

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1 May 2014

Smoking is an independent risk factor for several diseases that affect a great many Canadians, and the associated health costs have long posed a significant burden on Canadian health systems and the economy more broadly. Compared to the previous decade, fewer Canadians are smoking now and fewer people have taken up the habit in recent years. However there is still some reason for concern in that the proportion of Canadians giving up smoking has remained relatively stagnant since the beginning of this century.

Smoking is on the decline in Canada. In 2011-12, 20.0% of respondents to the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) indicated that they were either daily or occasional smokers, compared to 25.9% in 2000-01 – a decrease of 22.8% in the span of a decade. When only daily smokers are considered, this decline is even steeper, with the proportion of respondents identifying as daily smokers dropping from 21.5% in 2000-01 to 15.2% in 2011-12 – a decrease of 29.3%.

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Diabetes and Healthy Lifestyles

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1 April 2014

Over the past decade, diabetes prevalence in Canada has been increasing steadily and the burden of diabetes has proven a substantial burden on the health of Canadians, the healthcare system, and the national economy. The Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) has estimated that, in 2010, the economic burden of diabetes in Canada equaled $11.7 billion, and as diabetes prevalence continues along its current upward trend, so too will the costs associated with the disease. The majority of this burden is linked to the incidence of type II diabetes, which accounts for 90-95% of diabetes cases, and is strongly linked to modifiable risk factors such as diet and exercise.

In order to better understand the relation between diabetes prevalence and healthy lifestyles in Canada, we have examined data from Canadian Community Health Surveys between the years 2000 and 2012. The results provide both cause for concern and reason for optimism.

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Do You Have a Regular Doctor?

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18 March 2014

In 2011-2012, approximately fifteen percent of Canadians did not have a regular doctor. And while the number of practicing doctors per capita throughout Canada has steadily increased over the past decade, over the same period there has been nearly no improvement in the proportion of Canadians with access to a regular physician. According to Canadian Community Health Survey data from the years 2002 to 2012, the percentage of Canadians indicating that they do not have a regular doctor has fluctuated between a low of 14.0% (in 2002-03) and a high of 15.3% (in 2007-08).

There is a noticeable geographic component to the distribution of Canadians without doctors. In 2011-12, the proportion of residents in each of the prairie provinces (Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan) without a regular doctor was higher than the Canadian average…

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Check back regularly for more updates.