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about stillbirth data

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  • For each data source, information about data collection and analytical methods, limitations, the citation and additional resources can be found on the Data Sources and Methods page.

A Stillbirth is defined as a death prior to the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of conception. The death is indicated by the fact that after such separation the fetus does not breathe or show any other evidence of life, such as beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles. Only fetal deaths where the product of conception has a birth weight of 500 grams or more or the duration of pregnancy is 20 weeks or longer are registered in Canada. Therapeutic abortions that meet either criterion are also classified as stillbirths in Ontario.


Original Source: Vital Statistics, Ontario Office of the Registrar General (ORG).
Cite as:Ontario Stillbirth Database, 1986-2015, Office of the Registrar General. IntelliHEALTH Ontario, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.


Data Collection Methods

  • Information on stillbirths is collected by the Office of the Registrar General and is based on three forms: 1) the Statement of Stillbirth completed by parents, 2) the Physician Notice of Birth or Stillbirth (PNOB) completed by the physician, and 3) the more detailed Medical Certificate of Stillbirth completed by the physician.

Data Analysis Methods

  • Data are analyzed by the residence of the mother, not by where the stillbirth occurred.
  • Out-of-province stillbirths occurring to Ontario women have been excluded from analyses.
  • Due to changes in registration practices of stillbirths within the lowest birth weight categories, both crude stillbirth rates and birth weight-specific rates should be reported.
  • Rates and proportions based on counts less than five (5) are suppressed.


  • Because of data quality concerns, 1991 and 1992 data are not presented.
  • There are possible errors in the stillbirth data file related to assignment of municipality of residence/census subdivision of mother.


  1. Association of Public Health Epidemiologists in Ontario (APHEO). Vital Statistics Stillbirth Data. 2013.
  2. Woodward GL, Ardal S. Data Quality Report: Effect of Residence Code Errors on Fertility Rates. Central East Health Information Partnership, July 2000.
  3. Health Canada. Perinatal Health Indicators for Canada: A Resource Manual. Ottawa: Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, 2000.

Last updated: July 10, 2019

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