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Critical Illness and Chronic Disease Statistics in Canada

By: Benefits by Design | Tuesday August 4, 2020

Updated : Tuesday November 7, 2023

Chronic diseases — that is, illnesses and diseases that are persistent or are otherwise long-lasting in their effects — are rising in Canada. Statistically speaking, it’s very likely that you or someone you know already has been affected by one.

Download the E-Book: Making the Case for Critical Illness Insurance (PDF: 6,799)

What is a Chronic Disease?

A chronic disease or illness is a persistent disease that progresses slowly and can be treated but not cured. These diseases often have long-lasting and life-altering effects.

Some of the most common chronic diseases in Canada include:

  • Arthritis
  • Cancer*
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease*
  • Mental illness
  • Stroke*

*Cancer, heart disease, and stroke are the three most common chronic diseases in Canada.

Primary Risk Factors of Chronic Disease

Chronic disease can happen to anyone. The primary risk factors for developing a chronic condition include:

  • Tobacco use
  • Harmful consumption of alcohol
  • High blood pressure
  • Physical inactivity
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Unhealthy diet

Chronic Disease Statistics in Canada

Chronic conditions can drastically affect a person’s life, relationships, mental health, and ability to work and provide an income. By their very definition, chronic diseases aren’t something you can easily recover from, and in cases of recovery, there are usually long-lasting effects.

Let’s take a closer look at the sobering statistics surrounding the three most common chronic diseases we mentioned: cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

Cancer Statistics

#1. Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada and is responsible for 30% of all deaths in the country, with an estimated 225,800 new cancer cases expected in 2020.

#2. Approximately 50% of Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetime, while 25% of those diagnosed will die of the disease.

#3. Cancer doesn’t appear to distinguish between men and women. Although in the past, men were diagnosed at a much higher rate than women, the gap in the number of cancer cases is narrowing. An estimated 115,800 men and 110,000 women will be diagnosed with cancer in 2020.

Heart Disease Statistics

#1. Heart disease affects men and women differently. Men are 2 times more likely to suffer a heart attack than women, and men are newly diagnosed with heart disease approximately 10 years younger than women (55-64 vs. 65-74 years of age).

#2. 600,000 Canadians are living with heart failure and 50,000 are diagnosed each year.

Stroke Statistics

#1. Stroke is the leading cause of disability in Canada and the third leading cause of death. 

#2. One-third more women die of stroke than men in Canada; of all deaths from stroke, 59% are women and 41% are men.

What is Critical Illness Insurance?

Critical Illness (CI) Insurance covers plan members and their dependents for unexpected serious illnesses, including all three of the top chronic diseases in Canada — cancer, heart disease, and stroke. 

Upon diagnosis of one of the covered conditions, the policyholder receives a single, tax-free lump-sum payment, which can be used however the policyholder sees fit.

Critical Illness Insurance protects plan members and their dependents from the financial hardships associated with serious, sudden illnesses and allows them to focus on recovery. With chronic diseases becoming more and more prevalent in Canada, Critical Illness Insurance is a viable addition to any group insurance plan.

Download the FREE Critical Illness Insurance E-Book

This e-book discusses the advantages of Critical Illness Insurance, what it covers, and the rising incidence rates of critical illness in Canada. In addition, it profiles the true story of a Benefits by Design employee who received a cancer diagnosis and how her coverage brought her and her family peace of mind.

Critical Illness Insurance provides important financial support for all 3 of Canada’s leading chronic diseases.

Download the E-Book (PDF: 6,799 KB)