In every country, contraceptive behavior has important implications for fertility and the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). There has been relatively little attention to contraceptive practices in Canada, however, particularly how patterns of method use may have changed.
Data on contraceptive use were collected from 5,315 women in the 1984 Canadian Fertility Survey, and from 3,220 women and 3,449 men in the 1995 General Social Survey.
Among Canadian women aged 15-49, current contraceptive use declined from 69% to 60% between 1984 and 1995. Pill use dropped from 19% to 17%, and IUD use declined from 6% to 3%. However, during the same period, condom use increased from 6% to 10%; tubal ligation declined from 24% to 17%, while vasectomy increased. In addition, the proportion of women sterilized for reasons other than contraception rose between 1984 and 1995. Men were less likely to rely on sterilization than were women (31 % vs. 40%). Men reported higher levels of condom use (22%), but lower levels of pill use among their partners (9%), than did women (10% and 17%, respectively).
Contraceptive behavior in Canada is unique: The decline in contraceptive use over the last decade has left Canada's overall contraceptive prevalence among the lowest in the industrialized world, and the rate of sterilization among the highest These changes in contraceptive behavior complicate efforts to plan for social and health needs, particularly policy decisions focusing on reducing infections with STDs.