According to Statistics Canada, excess deaths for Canadians under 45 jumped 27% more than expected in the last five months of 2022. That amounts to 10 extra deaths per day or 1,597 more deaths than anticipated during that period.
Though excess mortality increased among all age demographics, the rate for Canadians under 45 is significantly higher than for older Canadians. COVID did not contribute significantly to excess mortality among younger people, with only 102 fatalities attributed to the respiratory virus for Canadians under 50 between August and December 2022.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has been working with Statistics Canada to better understand the reason for the more significant excess mortality. Statistics Canada attributes more poisoning and overdose deaths since the pandemic to explain the alarming trend.
In 2020, there were 2,640 accidental poisoning deaths, which increased to 3,600 in 2021 for individuals under 45 — a 36% increase. Comparing data between August to December 2019 and the same period in 2022, accidental poisonings fell by 17.3%.
From the onset of the COVID pandemic to August 2022, excess deaths for the same demographic only jumped 19%. For all ages from March 2020 to August 2022, the excess mortality was 7%, jumping to 13% during the final five months of last year.
“While COVID-19 has been a main driver of excess deaths overall, we are observing that other factors are also driving excess mortality, particularly among younger Canadians,” PHAC spokeswoman Anna Maddison told The Epoch Times.
“These findings align with what has been observed through PHAC-led population health surveillance initiatives,” she said.
On March 23, PHAC unveiled that 5,360 Canadians died from opioids between January to September 2022. Of those deaths, 3,698 (69%) were under 50, amounting to 13.6 opioid overdose deaths per day over the period.
“Canada has seen substantially elevated numbers of opioid-related deaths and other harms since surveillance began in 2016,” reads the report titled “Apparent Opioid and Stimulant Toxicity Deaths.” It noted the COVID pandemic “contributed to and exacerbated the crisis.”
According to PHAC in its 2022/23 departmental plan, “the increasingly toxic drug supply, increased feelings of isolation, stress, and anxiety, and limited availability or accessibility of services for people who use drugs” increased accidental poisonings.
According to recent data on excess deaths in Quebec from January to April 2023, excess deaths for residents under 50 jumped 27% — in line with the national average from the latter half of 2022.
The Institut de la Statistique du Québec told The Epoch Times that excess mortality for that age group rarely fell below the national average since mid-2022.