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10 Vital Statistics Live Birth Data

Vital Statistics Live Birth Data

Original source: Vital Statistics, Ontario Office of Registrar General (ORG), ServiceOntario
Distributed by: Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC): IntelliHEALTH ONTARIO (IntelliHEALTH) 
Suggested citation (see Data Citation Notes): Ontario Live Birth Data [years], Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, IntelliHEALTH ONTARIO, Date Extracted: [date].

Data Notes

  • All live births in Ontario must be registered with the Office of the Registrar General (ORG) within 30 days of birth, as per the Vital Statistics Act (1990).
  • A birth is registered when the ORG has received two complete forms: the Notice of Live Birth or Stillbirth (completed by the birth attendant within two business days) and the Statement of Live Birth (completed by the parent/informant within 30 days). See the document Timeline of changes in live birth registration in Ontario for more details regarding changes in the birth registration process over time, including the implementation of a fully electronic registration process and the introduction and elimination of municipal fees.
  • The ORG supplies the live birth registration data to Statistics Canada for national reporting. With the ORG's approval, Statistics Canada provides the Ontario Ministry of Health with an edited and standardized dataset, which is uploaded to IntelliHEALTH.
  • Prior to 2008, county, municipality, and PHU geographic locations in IntelliHEALTH for place of occurrence and place of residence of mother were derived from a municipality code supplied by ORG to Statistics Canada.  LHIN was derived from municipality where possible and from postal code when the municipality was shared by several LHINs.  From 2008, the place of occurrence municipality coding was discontinued by Statistics Canada and only postal code for residence was maintained.  Statistics Canada now derives the municipality of residence from the postal code using the Postal Code Conversion File Plus (PCCF+) programs where there is a valid postal code.  If no valid postal code is available, manual coding of residence municipality is done from any available address information on the record.  Statistics Canada still uses special codes to indicate Indian Reserves within a county when a specific reserve is not identified on the registration.
  • Live birth data are available for download through IntelliHEALTH within the Vital Statistics folder for the time period 1986 onward. Live birth data may be accessed using the predefined report Birth Summary V2 under the Vital Statistics shared reports folder or by creating a new report using the Live Birth data source table.
  • Detailed information about live birth data obtained through HELPS can be found in the HELPS Resource Document.
  • The IntelliHEALTH licensing agreement does not require suppression of small cells, but limits reporting at a level that could identify individuals, e.g. reporting at the postal code level by age and sex, regardless of the cell size. Aggregation (e.g. combining years, age groups, categories) should also be done when small numbers result in unstable rates.
  • Data should be analyzed by the residence of the mother, not by where the birth occurred.
  • Births to out-of-province mothers are included in IntelliHEALTH  total counts; whereas, births occurring outside of the province to Ontario mothers are not available.
  • Stillbirths are not included in the live birth data but are provided in a separate data source table.
  • There has been an observed increase in the number of registered live births with a birth weight of less than 500 grams (the borderline of viability) across Canada.3,4 See Section 2 of the Reproductive Health Core Indicators Documentation Report for more details.
  • A number of data quality concerns have been identified for the live birth data, including changes in the source of gestational age data for the period 1990 to 1998 and underreporting of births. For more details on these concerns, see the following documents:

References and Resources

  1. Bienefeld M, Woodward GL, Ardal S. Underreporting of live births in Ontario: 1991-1997. Central East Health Information Partnership, February 2001.
  2. Woodward GL, Ardal S. Data Quality Report: Effect of Residence Code Errors on Fertility Rates. Central East Health Information Partnership, July 2000.
  3. Joseph KS, Kramer MS. Recent trends in Canadian infant mortality rates: effect of changes in registration of live newborns weighing less than 500 g. CMAJ 1996;155:1047-52.
  4. Public Health Agency of Canada. Canadian Perinatal Health Report. 2008.


Date of last revision: January 16, 2013
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