Table of Contents
There are a variety of sources related to Canadian suicide statistics, but no source effectively summarizes all of the statistics, with graphs and charts, and links back to the original citation. The purpose of this article is to provide the most up-to-date information on suicide by method, gender, province, age-range, and other characteristics. The most common source of data is Statistics Canada.
Suicide Rate in Canada
The overall rate for suicide in Canada is 11.3 per 100,000 based on the 2012 Statistics Canada data (released in 2015), for both genders. This is mostly unchanged from the 5 year average of 11.36 per 100,000. The next data will be released in 2017.
Although other countries may calculate suicide differently, Canada ranks approximately 70 for both sexes suicide, 70 for male suicides and 73 for female suicides (out of a total of 170 countries, where lower is better), based on 2012 data from the World Health Organization. (WHO, 2012)
Suicide by Age in Canada
The largest population of suicides in Canada are from men and women 45-59. All Ages data includes suicide of those of unknown age and those under 10.
|Age||Rate per 100,000 persons||% of Total|
|10 to 14||1.8||1%|
|15 to 19||10.2||5%|
|20 to 24||12.1||6%|
|25 to 29||11.4||6%|
|30 to 34||11.6||6%|
|35 to 39||12.8||6%|
|40 to 44||15.5||8%|
|45 to 49||17.5||9%|
|50 to 54||17.1||9%|
|55 to 59||17.6||9%|
|60 to 64||13.4||7%|
|65 to 69||10.5||5%|
|70 to 74||11.1||6%|
|75 to 79||9.3||5%|
|80 to 84||9.9||5%|
|85 to 89||11.1||6%|
|90 and older||8.1||4%|
Chart, Suicide by Age in Canada
Suicide by Gender in Canada
In Canada, like most countries, male suicides outnumber female suicides. (Statistics Canada, 2012)
|Age at time of death||Male per 100,000||Female per 100,00 people|
|90 and older||20.5||3.5|
The chart below shows the gross number of suicides in order to demonstrate the male percentage of the total. (Statistics Canada, 2012)
|10 to 14||17||17||34||50%|
|15 to 19||160||67||227||70%|
|20 to 24||221||70||291||76%|
|25 to 29||217||56||273||79%|
|30 to 34||202||73||275||73%|
|35 to 39||223||71||294||76%|
|40 to 44||297||71||368||81%|
|45 to 49||331||132||463||71%|
|50 to 54||354||111||465||76%|
|55 to 59||323||105||428||75%|
|60 to 64||210||67||277||76%|
|65 to 69||130||43||173||75%|
|70 to 74||107||26||133||80%|
|75 to 79||67||19||86||78%|
|80 to 84||62||9||71||87%|
|85 to 89||38||11||49||78%|
|90 and older||13||6||19||68%|
Suicide Attempts in Canada
Suicide attempts usually do not lead to suicide deaths. In the US, Han et. al. (2016) reported that in 2012, there were over 1.3 million suicide attempts and 39,426 suicide deaths, leading to a ratio of approximately 33 suicide attempts for every suicide death.
Statistics Canada (2016) notes a World Health Organization source that notes up to 20 suicide attempts for every suicide death.
Suicide Attempts by Gender in Canada
Females attempt suicide 1.5 times more often than males (Langlois & Morrison, 2002) Mustard, et. al. (2012) note that the rate of suicide attempts among women is 3 times that of men. Both sources are referred to in Statistics Canada (2016).
Suicide by Method in Canada
Suicide methods impact lethality, therefore it is important to understand the most common methods used to attempt suicide in Canada. Men are likelier to use more lethal means like hanging and firearm than women are (Bilsker & White, 2011) increasing their suicide lethality. 1998 data reveals the following gender breakdown by method for suicide (Langlois & Morrison, 2002)
|Total Suicide Deaths||3698||100||2925||100||773||100|
|Total Poisoning Deaths||965||26.1||646||22.1||319||41.3|
|Jumping From High Place||160||4.3||115||3.9||45||5.8|
Additionally, the following information is provided for poisonings (these numbers make up the total poisoning deaths number above):
|Drugs and Medication||487||13.2||246||8.4||241||31.2|
|Motor Vehicle Exhaust||269||7.3||229||7.8||40||5.2|
|Other Carbon Monoxide||164||4.4||135||4.6||29||3.8|
Chart, Suicide by Method in Canada
The above chart shows total poisoning deaths. The below chart breaks out poisoning into the various types:
Suicide by Province in Canada
Suicide in Canada has a distinct provincial impact, with northern territories having a higher rate of suicide and the Maritimes having a lower rate of suicide as compared to the provincial average. (Statistics Canada, 2016b)
|Newfoundland and Labrador||7.8||12.3||3.4|
|Prince Edward Island||5.8||7.4||4.4|
Chart, Suicide by Province in Canada
Youth Suicide in Canada
Youth suicide in Canada has been relatively stable for several years. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of suicide in Canada for ages 15 to 34. (Statistics Canada, 2015a) Additionally, there are more suicide attempts in youth than adults, with Schwartz (2003) estimating between 50 and 200 attempts per youth suicide death.
See my article Risk Factors Predicting Youth Suicide Attempts for more information.
LGBT Suicide in Canada
It has been well-documented that the LGBT community has a higher rate of suicide than the general population.
Approximately 30% of suicide deaths and 28% of suicide attempts in Canada involve lesbian, gay or bisexual individuals. (LGB; Banks, 2003) The LGB population was estimated by Statistics Canada (2015c) at approximately 2%, though this is likely an underestimate.
The trans suicide rate is dramatically higher than the LGB rate. Between 20 and 40% of transgender individuals report suicide attempts, while a study of trans youth in Ontario reported that 35% had suicidal thoughts and 11% had a suicide attempt in the previous year. (Bauer, 2015)
Veteran/Military Suicide in Canada
Military member and military veteran suicide has increasingly been in the public consciousness. In 2012, the Canadian Forces had 10 suicide deaths by current members and 11 suicide attempts by current members according to a Global News article citing Department of National Defence data. (Minsky, 2015)
Given a strength of approximately 68,000 Regular Force members and 27,000 Reserve members, 10 suicides leads to a suicide rate per 100,000 of approximately 9.5, slightly lower than the general population rate of 13.1.
See my article Suicide Prevention in the US Military.
Bauer, G. R., Scheim, A. I., Pyne, J., Travers, R., & Hammond, R. (2015). Intervenable factors associated with suicide risk in transgender persons: a respondent driven sampling study in Ontario, Canada. BMC Public Health, 15(1), 1-15. doi:10.1186/s12889-015-1867-2
Banks, C. (2003) The Cost of Homophobia: Literature Review on the Human Impact of Homophobia On Canada. Community-University Institute for Social Research. Retrieved on August 27, 2016 from http://www.usask.ca/cuisr/sites/default/files/BanksHumanCostFINAL.pdf
Bilsker, D. & White, J. (2011) The silent epidemic of male suicide. BCMJ. 53(10) 529-534.. Retrieved on August 27, 2016 from www.bcmj.org/articles/silent-epidemic-male-suicide
Han, B., Kott, P. S., Hughes, A., McKeon, R., Blanco, C., & Compton, W. M. (2016). Estimating the rates of deaths by suicide among adults who attempt suicide in the United States. Journal Of Psychiatric Research, 77125-133. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2016.03.002
Langlois, S & Morrison, P. (2012) Suicide deaths and suicide attempts. Health Reports. 13(2):9-21. Retrieved on August 26, 2016 from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2001002/article/6060-eng.pdf
Minsky, A. (2013, 4 Dec.) “For every suicide in the Canadian Forces, at least one attempt was recorded: documents”. Global News. Retrieved on August 27, 2016 from http://globalnews.ca/news/1009779/soldier-suicide-one-attempt-for-every-death/
Mustard, C., Bielecky, A., Etches, J., Wilkins, R., Tjepkema, M., Amick, B., Smith, P.M., Gnam, W.H. & Aronson, K. (2012). Suicide Mortality by Occupation in Canada, 1991-2001. Canadian Journal Of Psychiatry-Revue Canadienne De Psychiatrie, 55(6), 369-376.
Schwartz, M.W. (2003) The 5-minute Pediatric Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. pp 796.
Statistics Canada. (2015a) Table 102-0561 – Leading causes of death, total population, by age group and sex, Canada, annual, CANSIM (database). Accessed August 27, 2016.
Statistics Canada. (2015b) “Suicides and suicide rate, by sex and by age group (Both sexes rate).” CANSIM, Table 102-0551. Retrieved on August 27, 2016 from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/hlth66d-eng.htm
Statistics Canada. (2015c) “Same-sex couples and sexual orientation… by the numbers” Retrieved on August 27, 2016 from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/eng/dai/smr08/2015/smr08_203_2015
Statistics Canada. (2016a) Table 102-0563 – Leading causes of death, total population, by sex, Canada, provinces and territories, annual, CANSIM (database). Retrieved on August 27, 2016 from http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a47
Statistics Canada. (2016b) Navaneelan, T. Suicide rates: An overview. Retrieved on August 24, 2016 from www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-624-x/2012001/article/11696-eng.htm
World Health Organization (WHO). (2012) “GHO | By category | Suicide rates – Data by country.” Retrieved on August 27, 2016 from http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.MHSUICIDE?lang=en