Objective Subglottic squamous cell carcinoma is a rare subsite of laryngeal cancer that behaves more aggressively and portends a worse prognosis. Using a population-based cancer registry, our objective was to report overall survival (os) and laryngectomy-free survival (lfs) in patients diagnosed with subglottic squamous cell carcinoma, and to determine whether primary laryngectomy results in improved survival.Methods This retrospective population-based study considered patients with a new diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma in the province of Ontario over a 15-year period (1995–2009). The Ontario Cancer Registry was examined for patients with the diagnosis of interest during the period of interest. Linked population-based databases were used to obtain patient demographics, comorbidity measures, staging, survival, and primary treatment with laryngectomy.Results Of 4927 patients identified to have laryngeal carcinoma, 89 were defined as having primary subglottic carcinoma (1.8%). In the subglottic cohort, 68 patients were men (76.4%), and mean age at diagnosis was 68 years (interquartile range: 60–77 years). The 5-year os was 47.2%, and the 5-year lfs was 31.5%. In 13 patients (15%), the primary treatment was laryngectomy, which, compared with primary radiation, did not predict for improved os. No differences in os or lfs were observed during the 15-year study period (os p = 0.42, lfs p = 0.83).Conclusions The survival of patients with subglottic carcinoma is poor and has remained stable over time (1995–2009). Compared with primary radiation, primary treatment with laryngectomy does not appear to improve os.