StatsCan Report Links Income to Life Expectancy

A new StatsCan report finds a clear relationship between income and health in Canada, with Canadians in the highest income quintile having the lowest risk of dying from multiple causes

A new report on the state of health in Canada by Statistics Canada finds a strong link between between life expectancy and income in the country.

The report uses data collected from 1991 to 2006 in a Canadian census study on mortality, and measures the age-standardized mortality rates (ASMRs) of Canadians in five income groups.

It found that individuals in the highest income quintile had the lowest risk of dying, and the risk increased progressively with each move down an income quintile.

The major causes of death that saw big differences between individuals with different levels of income were ischemic heart disease, cancers of the trachea, bronchus and lung, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

This suggests that a greater tendency among those in the lower income quintiles to engage high-risk behavior, in particular smoking, is a major cause of the differences in health outcomes.

A large difference was also seen in rate of death due to communicable diseases, with individuals in the lowest income quintile being 3.5 times more likely to die from HIV/AIDS than those in the highest.

Healthy immigrant effect

The link between income and health outcomes could explain the ‘healthy immigrant effect’, which is an observed phenomenon in which immigrants tend to arrive in Canada in a state of health that is better than members of the general population, but see a deterioration in their health in the years following their arrival.

As the income gap between recent immigrants and the general Canadian population has steadily increased since 1980, one result could be that the income-related health effects of immigration on new Canadians could have grown.

Income and population centres

The relevance of income to health is also worth considering when deciding where one should live in Canada.

Canadian census reports show that there is a sizeable personal income gap between rural and urban Canada, with urban areas having per capita incomes that are more than one fifth higher than rural districts.

The income gap between rural and urban Canada is paralleled by a life expectancy gap, with city-dwellers and those living within commuting distance of cities living longer than their rural counterparts.

Among Canadian cities, those with the highest median household income are Ottawa, the country’s capital, where it is $94,700, the Albertan metropolises of Calgary ($89,490) and Edmonton ($87,930), the capital city of Saskatchewan, Regina ($84,890), and Oshawa, Ontario ($82,270).

Manitoba Premier: Western Provinces Asked for Increase in Immigration Limit

A crop field near Winnipeg, Manitoba. The western provinces of Canada called on the federal government to raise their provincial nominee program caps in a meeting on Monday (Shahnoor Munmun)

Canada’s western provinces called on the federal government to remove the caps on their provincial immigration programs on Monday, according to a recent Bloomberg News interview with Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger.

Selinger said the limits the federal government places on the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) are making it difficult for them to fill their labour shortages:

“We’ve seen some changes that have potentially put a crimp in our ability to grow our economies and have people living in our communities.”

A PNP is a province specific program that allows the provincial government to nominate foreign nationals for permanent residency. Each PNP is limited to nominating a certain number of individuals per year, with each province’s cap being determined by the federal government.

Canada’s western provinces, which have one of the best performing regional economies in the developed world, have over the last decade been allowed to nominate a steadily increasing number of foreigners per year.

The first PNP started as a pilot project in Manitoba in 1997, and has subsequently expanded to all of the provinces, with the provincial governments looking to it as a way to counteract the ageing of their populations.

Vancouver City Gov Introduces Universal Access Card for Recreational Facilities

The seawall that encircles Stanley Park. Accessing Vancouver’s recreational facilities will get easier with the introduction of the OneCard in September 2013

The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation announced last week that it will introduce a new universal access card for pools, rinks, fitness centres and community centres in the city.

The OneCard will replace over twenty separate cards used to access recreational facilities in Vancouver, making life more convenient for the city’s residents.

The universal access card will only enhance Vancouver’s stature as one of the best cities in the world for recreational activities.

Vancouver is one of the top destinations for new immigrants to Canada and is often rated at or the near top of international rankings for qualify of life, largely due to its many parks and recreational facilities and proximity to mountains, lush coastal forests and ocean.

The city is especially well known for its exceptional settings for outdoor activities. Stanley Park, a large park bordering downtown Vancouver, attracts approximately eight million visitors annually, and has been rated the sixth best park in North America.

The park has approximately 200 kilometres of trails and road, including a seawall encircling the entire peninsula which is used by an estimated 2.5 million pedestrians, cyclists, and inline skaters each year.

Canada’s Oil Production to Double By 2030 Thanks to Oil Sands -Report

The Irving Oil refinery, Canada’s largest, in Saint John, New Brunswick. New pipelines from Western Canada to refineries in the East could increase Canada’s oil revenues while reducing energy costs to Canadian consumers and businesses (Wikipedia)

A new report by Canada’s largest association of petroleum companies projects that the country’s oil production will double to 6.7 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2030 as a result of increased production in Northern Alberta’s oil sands region.

The outlook, published by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, estimates that production in the oil sands will increase from 1.8 million bpd in 2012 to 5.2 million bpd by 2030, which would constitute over three-quarters of Canada’s total oil production.

The largest market opportunities that will emerge from this increase in production will be in North America according to the report, by providing an alternative to foreign imports.

One of the major challenges for the country’s petroleum industry, says the report, is transportation of the crude oil to where it’s needed in other parts of North America, as well as to the country’s coasts where it can be exported to overseas markets.

Rail transport is quickly becoming a more common way to meet these transportation needs. The report notes that 12,989 rail cars transported oil in February 2013, a 60 percent increase from February 2012.

The increasing reliance on rail has been a reaction to new political obstacles hampering transportation infrastructure development. As cultural attitudes toward pipelines in Canada have deteriorated, two major political parties in Canada, the NDP and the Liberal Party, to different degrees, have come out against planned pipeline projects.

With Canada’s oil pipelines reaching capacity and this new resistance to their expansion, the more expensive rail transport method is being seen as the next-best option.

Economic impact

The rise in oil production is expected to have major consequences for Canada’s future fiscal health. While most of the developed world is expected to face economic difficulties over the next several decades, due to increased government expenditures on social welfare programs for their ageing populations, revenue from the new oil production is projected to compensate for this economic burden in Canada.

The Western provinces of Canada, where most of the new oil production as well as other natural resource extraction growth is taking place, are already becoming the bright spots of the Canadian economy, with lower unemployment rates and faster economic growth than the rest of the country.

Alberta, at the epicenter of the resource boom, currently has the highest per capita GDP in the country. Neighboring Saskatchewan, another resource-rich province, meanwhile has the lowest unemployment rate in the country, and the second higher per capita GDP.

The disparity in job opportunities between Western and Eastern Canada has led to the migration of tens of thousands of Canadians to the western prairie provinces, as well as thousands of immigrants, who are willing to brave the cold of the prairies for better job prospects.

Capital City Ottawa Voted as Canada’s Most Boring City

Downtown Ottawa. Canada’s capital city was voted as the country’s most boring in last week’s “Boring Awards”

(Via Global BC) Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, beat out five other nominees to be voted as the country’s most boring city in the annual “Boring Awards” ceremony held last Tuesday.

Other cities nominated for the most boring title were: Laval (Quebec), Lethbridge (Alberta), Abbotsford (British Columbia), and Brampton (Ontario).

Despite being the most boring, Ottawa is also the “richest” large city in Canada according to a 2010 study by Statistics Canada, which found that it had the highest median gross family income of the major metropolitan areas in the country.

Lucrative jobs in and close to government provide the city with a steady source of consumer spending that supports a range of industries and helps it maintain an unemployment rate of 6.1 percent – below the 7.2 percent national average.

Combined with relatively affordable housing, the city was found to provide the best quality of life by the Money Sense ‘Canada’s Best Places to Live – 2012′ index.

B.C. Spends Less On Health, Has Healthiest Population in Canada

Vancouver General Hospital in British Columbia, Canada. B.C. is ranked as having one of the best health care systems in Canada thanks to high ratings on the health-related lifestyle habits and health outcomes of its residents (Arnold C.)

British Columbia has the healthiest residents among the Canadian provinces according to a new Conference Board of Canada (CBoC) study.

The B.C. provincial government spends less than almost all other Canadian provinces on health care, but still comes out on top in the health care ranking thanks to the healthy lifestyles of B.C. residents, who have the lowest smoking rates in the country.

The CBoC report rates provincial health care system performance according to a total of 90 indicators within four categories: Lifestyle Factors, Health Status, Health Resources, and Health Care System Performance.

Lifestyle Factors measures the behavior of a province’s population that affects health, including the rate of smoking, heavy drinking, obesity, fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity.

B.C. has the best score in both the Lifestyle Factors and Health Status categories, which was enough to earn it one of only three As granted in the Overall Performance rating.

The other provinces scoring an A in Overall Performance were Alberta and Ontario. Both provinces have more government spending on health care than B.C., and both received a higher score in Health Care System Performance, which measures disease screening, waiting times and accessibility for procedures, effectiveness of treatments and the appropriateness of treatments.

Residents of Alberta and Ontario fell short of British Columbians in their health status however, with lower birth weights, higher infant mortality, and more years of life lost to illness.

TD Report: Asia No. 1 Source of Immigrants to Canada, But Share Shrinking

Traditional entrance gate to Montreal’s Chinatown. 63.4 percent of immigrants live in Canada’s three largest metropolitan areas: Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver according to the 2011 National Household Survey (Quinn Dombrowski)

A new TD analysis of the recently released 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) shows Asia is the largest, though shrinking, source of immigrants to Canada.

While 60 percent of immigrants originated in Asia, which includes the Middle East, in 2005, by 2011 that number had declined to 56.9 percent.

The three largest source countries for immigrants were all Asian: the Philippines, China and India. The Philippines saw its immigrant number nearly double from 2005 to 2011, while the share of immigrants from India and China declined, from a combined 27 percent in 2005, to 21 percent in 2011.

Among the major regions, the two that saw the biggest growth since 2005 were the Africa region, and the Caribbean and Central/South America region, which are now the origin of about 25 percent of Canadian immigrants.

The TD analysis also looked at where immigrants are settling. They continue to settle primarily (91 percent) in Canada’s largest 33 metropolitan areas, with the Big Three, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, continuing to lead the way.

The prairie metropolises of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba saw a small increase in their immigrant populations relative to the Big Three, likely as a result of the strong demand for labour seen in these provinces.

A final demographic measure looked at by the TD report was the change in the visible minority component of the Canadian population. The percentage of Canadians classified as visible minorities increased from 16.2 percent in 2005 to 19.1 percent in 2011, according to the NHS.

The three largest visible minority groups are South Asians (which include Indians, Pakistanis and Sri Lankans), at 1.6 million, Chinese, at 1.3 million, and blacks, at 945,000.

70 percent of visible minority immigrants live in one of the three largest metropolises; Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver.

More New Immigrants Moving to Smaller Cities- Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg Among Most Popular

A downtown Vancouver sidewalk. The portion of new Canadian immigrants that settled in Vancouver declined from 13.7 percent in 2006 to 13.3 percent in 2011 as Canada’s smaller cities, particularly in the prairies, attracted newcomers with their strong labour markets (CICS News)

A Vancouver Sun report published Wednesday, titled Canada’s ‘Big Three’ metro areas lose lustre as newcomers opt for smaller cities, examines the phenomenon of immigrants choosing the Big Three Canadian cities less in favour of Canada’s smaller cities:

Released Wednesday by Statistics Canada, the 2011 numbers reveal that Toronto’s share of newcomers fell to 32.8 per cent, down from 40.4 per cent in 2006, while Vancouver’s share dropped to 13.3 per cent from 13.7 per cent. Montreal was the only “Big Three” immigration city to post a gain: 16.3 per cent of newcomers, versus 14.9 per cent in 2006.

Excluding the Big Three, the cities drawing the most newcomers were those with the most promising job markets: Calgary, at 6.1 percent of all new immigrants, Edmonton (4.3 percent), and Winnipeg (3.9 percent).

The oil wealth of Alberta has contributed to the province having the lowest unemployment rate and the highest per capita GDP in the country, making the immigration shift to that province’s cities unsurprising.

Another factor contributing to the shift to cities other than the Big Three is the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), which provide those hoping to immigrate to Canada with new routes to immigrate if they are able to acquire eligible work experience in a province.

Some PNPs, like the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP), have a lower work experience threshold for eligibility and are granted a higher quota by the federal government for the number of foreign nationals they can nominate for permanent residence annually, and this has resulted in a boost in the number of immigrants settling in their corresponding provinces.

Immigration Pushes Canadian Province’s Population Growth to 40 Year High

Cold winters have historically discouraged Canadian immigrants from settling in Manitoba, but a path to permanent residence through the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program has increased the number of immigrants arriving in Manitoba and led to its largest population increase in 40 years this year

The population of Manitoba, a province in Canada’s prairie region, increased by 16,227 people over the last 12 months, which is the most in 40 years, according to the Manitoba provincial government.

The arrival of 15,199 immigrants to Manitoba over the last 12 months, the highest number since 1946, was the main reason for this year’s record population increase.

Many of the immigrants arrived through the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP), which allows temporary residents with six months of work experience in Manitoba to qualify for nomination by the provincial government for permanent residence, subject to meeting official language proficiency requirements for semi-skilled workers.

Manitoba has historically drawn a low percentage of total Canadian immigrants due to its frigid winters and lack of any coastal cities, which tend to be favoured over inland cities.

To reverse this trend, the Manitoba government has been requesting that Citizenship and Immigration Canada increase the cap on the number of immigrants the province can nominate through its provincial nominee program from the current 5,000, to 20,000 by 2016.

Burlington, Ontario Ranks as Best City in Canada for Immigrants

Burlington, Ontario, pictured above, was ranked as the best place to live in Canada for new immigrants by MoneySense magazine in their 2013 quality of life index (Andrew Lynes)

MoneySense, a Canadian personal finance magazine, has released its annual Best Places to Live for 2013 index, and Calgary takes the number one spot as the best place to live in Canada overall, while Burlington, Ontario is ranked as the best city for new immigrants.

The index scores cities according to 11 groups of indicators, which include commuting, crime, housing, weather, and wealth, and which are weighted according to what the authors think is most relevant to quality of life.

Calgary and Burlington both ranked at the top largely thanks to their strong economies, which gives them an average household income of $125,733 and $110,031, respectively.

The index’s Best Places to Live for New Immigrants ranking also looks at the percentage of the city’s population that is made up of immigrants, and the cost of a one bedroom apartment, to tally its final score, based on the assumption that a large existing immigrant population and affordable rent make it easier for a new immigrant to settle in a city.

One notable omission from the top rankings was Vancouver and its neighbouring municipalities. Vancouver historically has ranked at the top of not just Canadian, but international quality of life indices, but MoneySense gave the city a ranking of 52nd in its overall index, while it performed better in the Best Places for New Immigrants index, at 10th, thanks to its large existing immigrant communities.

North Vancouver was the best performing municipality in the Greater Vancouver region, at 21st overall, followed by Port Coquitlam, at 31st.

Besides Calgary, other major Canadian cities that placed high in the rankings were:

6. Ottawa, Ontario

11. Edmonton, Alberta

12. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

16. Winnipeg, Manitoba

17. Regina, Saskatchewan

Nearly all of the top ranking major cities were Western Canadian, thanks to the relatively strong economic performance of the region in recent years.