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This colourized electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in November 2022, shows cells, indicated in purple, infected with the omicron strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, orange, isolated from a patient sample, captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility in Fort Detrick, Md.The Associated Press

More people died in Canada in 2021 than the previous year, with cancer, heart disease, overdoses and COVID-19 cited as the leading causes of death.

Data from Statistics Canada shows an increase in mortality among men as driving the rise in deaths to 311,640 – an increase of one per cent from the previous year.

The life expectancy also fell once again from 81.7 years to 81.6 years. It had decreased in 2020 by 0.6 years.

StatCan says that while cancer and heart disease remain the top two leading causes of death, accidental deaths rose by 14.5 per cent 2021, mostly due to fatal overdoses and falls.

COVID-19 also continued to affect Canadians’ health as the fourth leading cause of death that year, with notable increase among younger people.

The data shows COVID-19 deaths among people under age 65 more than doubled in the second year of the pandemic. The agency says just over 2,600 younger Canadians died of the disease in 2021 and that nearly 66 per cent of them were men.

Five provinces and one territory were hit harder by a higher mortality rate and saw a jump in deaths of at least 7 per cent that year.

They were Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, as well as the Northwest Territories.

Quebec had the largest decline in deaths, of 7.1 per cent, followed by Manitoba, which saw a drop of 3.3 per cent, and Nunavut, where the number decreased by nearly 2 per cent.

Canadian Press health coverage receives support through a partnership with the Canadian Medical Association. CP is solely responsible for this content.

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