Immigrant COVID-19 deaths early in pandemic about twice that of other Canadians: Statscan

June 13, 2021

By Globe and Mail |

Canadian neighbourhoods where visible minorities live had a COVID-19 death rate about two times higher than areas that had a low proportion of immigrants, a study from Statistics Canada says.

The study looked at the pandemic from early March to July last year, when there were more than 8,300 deaths.

About 67 per cent of those deaths were reported in Quebec, 28 per cent in Ontario and 3 per cent in B.C. Of those, immigrants made up 48 per cent of the fatalities in Quebec and 45 per cent in Ontario.

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COVID-19 had a disproportionately high impact on certain populations, the study said.

“The findings here show that immigrants’ share of deaths attributable to COVID-19 was proportionately higher than immigrants’ share in the total Canadian population. This is especially true among those younger than 65 and among males, as well as in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.”

Immigrants accounted for 30 per cent of all COVID-19-related deaths among those younger than 65 although they make up 20 per cent of the population, it said.

Between 44 and 51 per cent of people who died from COVID-19 in Vancouver and Toronto were immigrants, the study said.

Most of the immigrants who died lived in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, it said.

Other studies have concluded immigrants are at a higher risk of death because they’re more likely to work in essential services, may live in overcrowded or multigenerational housing and could have lower language proficiency and health literacy.

France and the United States have shown similarly high numbers of COVID-19-related deaths among immigrants, it said. However, international migrants in Italy had no increased risk of poor outcomes compared with their Italian-born counterparts, it added.

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