OTTAWA, August 11, 2003 ( – Statistics Canada has released new figures on births and stillbirths, in the August 11 issue of The Daily.  “Live births increased for the first time in a decade in 2001,” reports The Daily, but the increase is only 1.8% over 2000, when Canadians experienced a record low in fertility rates (1.51 babies per woman aged 18 to 44 in 2001, compared to 1.49 in 2000). “Fertility rates rose for women aged 25 and older in 2001, and fell for women under 25,” The Daily says.  Statistics Canada says, “Reasons behind the increase in births are not possible to determine from the data source, which is birth registrations. However, the increase coincides with the extension of parental benefits under Employment Insurance from a maximum of 10 weeks to 35 weeks as of December 31, 2000. The availability of this benefit may have encouraged some Canadians to start or add to their families.”  The Daily also reports that “The number of stillbirths with a gestational age of 28 weeks or more, known as late fetal deaths, rose slightly in 2001 for the third straight year.” There is no speculation as to the causes of this increase.  Download the PDF file:   Statistics Canada’s ‘The Daily’ website: