Health-adjusted life expectancy (HALE) is life expectancy weighted or adjusted for the level of health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Cause-deleted probabilities of dying were derived using the cause-eliminated life table technique and death data from vital statistics for Canada in 1998/99. Life expectancy for men and women in Canada was 76.0 and 81.5 years respectively; HALE was 67.9 years for men and 71.1 years for women. Cancer represented the greatest burden of disease in the population, and eliminating it would increase men's life expectancy to 79.6 years and women's to 85.1 years. HALE would rise to 70.7 years for men and 73.6 for women. The gain in life expectancy would be very small if osteoarthritis were eliminated, but there would be an overall gain in HALE of approximately 1.0 years for men and 2.5 years for women. HALE estimated for chronic conditions using a utility-based measure of HRQOL from population health surveys should be regarded as a valuable component of population health surveillance.