COVID-19 epidemiology update: Outbreaks:

Summary of COVID-19 outbreaks across Canada and over time. Older versions of this report are available on the archived reports page.

Update schedule: We update this page every 4 weeks on Tuesdays. This page was last updated on .

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) regularly receives COVID-19 outbreak data from health authorities in the provinces and territories. This page summarizes outbreaks in Canada by setting and by size, and is updated every 4 weeks. Data may change retroactively if there are changes to:

What is an outbreak?

Outbreak definitions vary across the country, but we use a national outbreak definition for all outbreaks. An outbreak is 2 or more test-confirmed cases of COVID-19 which are epidemiologically linked to a specific setting or location. It does not include:

  • households (since household cases may not be declared or managed as an outbreak if the risk of transmission is contained)
  • cases that are geographically clustered (such as in a region, city, or town) but not epidemiologically linked
  • cases attributed to community transmission

Test-confirmed cases include positive COVID-19 results from nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT) or rapid antigen tests (RAT).

In December 2021, the highly contagious Omicron variant caused a rapid increase in cases. This surge affected public health and testing capacity, which led to a change in testing strategies and limited contact tracing. This made it harder for provinces and territories to link cases. As a result, outbreaks were undercounted. The provinces and territories still consistently report cases of COVID-19 in high-priority settings. However, most no longer report cases in community settings, such as schools, recreational facilities and stores.

Three high-priority settings
  • Acute care: Hospital or similar setting where patients receive short-term treatment for an injury or severe episode of illness, an urgent medical condition, or during recovery from surgery. Acute care settings include:
    • hospitals
    • emergency departments
    • urgent care
    • transitional care
    • convalescent care
    • short-term inpatient rehabilitation centres
  • Congregate living includes:
    • retirement residences
    • assisted/supportive living
    • group homes
    • residential treatment centres
    • transition centres
    • shelters
    • student dormitories
  • Long-term care facilities include both public and private facilities that provide living accommodations for people who require full-time supervised care, including professional health services, personal care, and other services (meals, laundry, cleaning)

Showing outbreaks data from to .

We analyzed data for outbreaks occurring between January 02, 2022 and . You can select a narrower date range using the slider below. The data displayed on the rest of this page will change to reflect your date range.

The shaded area on the far right of Figure 1 and Figure 2 represents a period of accumulating data. This is the period of time before the latest outbreaks are reported to PHAC. This delay is a result of the time required to identify cases and declare outbreaks. We update this figure as more data becomes available.

Figure 1. Weekly number of outbreaks by setting

Figure 1: Text description

Figure 2. Weekly number of outbreaks by outbreak size for

Figure 2: Text description

Between January 2, 2022 and :

Table 1. Summary statistics of COVID-19 outbreak size by setting,

Setting Median case count Average case count Number of outbreaks
Data notes

You might also be interested in

COVID-19 wastewater surveillance dashboard

Trend data about the levels of COVID-19 in the wastewater.

COVID-19 vaccination

Number of COVID-19 vaccine doses that have been administed in Canada.

All Health Infobase data products

Did you find what you were looking for?

What was wrong?

Answers to frequently asked questions can be found in the Understanding the data section!

(Don’t include any personal information. Note that you will not receive a reply.)
Maximum 300 characters

Thank you for your feedback

Date modified: