Report on congenital anomalies (for health care providers)

Collecting information on birth defects in children helps:

  • identify trends early on;
  • improve parental and child health programs; and
  • support healthy pregnancies.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health collects information about birth defects under the Public Health and Safety Act.

The information collected is confidential and protected under Yukon's Health Information Privacy and Management Act (HIPMA).

Do other places collect this information?

Yes. Information about birth defects is collected across Canada. The Public Health Agency of Canada has funding for all provinces and territories to improve their birth defect information.

About birth defects in Yukon

Every year, approximately 420 babies are born in Yukon. About 3 to 5% of all children are born with a birth defect.

What are birth defects?

  • Birth defects are when a baby is born with body parts that are not formed the way they usually are. This is also referred to as congenital anomalies.
  • Sometimes, it takes a long time to see these defects, but sometimes they can be seen right when the baby is born.
  • Down syndrome, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and heart problems are some common examples of birth defects.
  • Many babies born in Canada have birth defects, more than any other health issue.
  • The causes of most birth defects are unknown. Some happen because of the genes the baby has, and some happen because of things in the environment.

How to report to Congenital Anomalies Surveillance Yukon

Congenital Anomalies Surveillance Yukon (CASY) collects information on birth defects to:

  • help our understanding of them; and
  • improve parental and child public health programs.

CASY shares deidentified information with the Canadian Congenital Anomalies Surveillance System to help understand birth defects Canada-wide.

Who to report

  • Report all children with a diagnosis or strong suspicion of a congenital anomaly up to 5 years of age to Congenital Anomalies Surveillance Yukon.
  • When a termination of pregnancy is due to a congenital anomaly, report the anomaly.

How to report

  1. Use the Congenital Anomalies Surveillance Yukon reporting and referral form when a congenital anomaly is identified in a child or fetus.
  2. Email confirmatory documentation such as a discharge summary or consultation reports to [email protected]. Do not assume this has already been sent.
  3. After you make a referral, the coordinator will talk to the family about:
    • the diagnosis;
    • family history;
    • methods to reduce the risk of congenital anomalies; and
    • support services.

Who should report

  • Physicians
  • Midwives
  • Nurses
  • Health care providers

Anomalies you should report

  • Birth defects found in children up to 5 years old after they are born.
  • Birth defects found or highly suspected in any terminated pregnancy or in miscarriage.
  • Abnormalities in the chromosomes.
  • Club foot identified before the baby is born.
  • Enlarged ventricles of the brain, only if it's confirmed postnatally.
  • Disorders that affect the body's ability to process macronutrients.
  • Confirmed Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and autism at any age.

What you should not report

During pregnancy, there may be signs that indicate a higher chance of chromosome abnormalities:

  • A thicker than usual area at the back of the neck (nuchal thickening).
  • A small bright spot seen within the region of the heart seen during an ultrasound examination (echogenic foci).
  • When a ultrasound shows that the baby's intestines appear brighter than normal (echogenic bowel).
  • When a build-up of fluid is found in the choroid section of an unborn baby’s brain (choroid plexus cysts).
  • A slight swelling in the baby's kidneys (pyelectasis).

Reporting birth defects

Birth defects are reported indirectly, without consent to the coordinator under the authority of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. This is required under the Public Health and Safety Act for the purposes of public health surveillance.

Congenital Anomalies Surveillance Yukon is governed under the Health Information Privacy and Management Act (HIPMA).

Contact: 

If you have questions, email [email protected]