Canadian Disability Survey

A demographic, employment and income profile, 2017 

An estimated one in five Canadians (or 6.2 million) aged 15 years and over had one or more disabilities that limited them in their daily activities, according to new findings from the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability (CSD).

More than 1 in 10 (540,000) Canadian youth, aged 15-24 have one or more disabilities. That’s 13% of the population. This compared with 20% or 3.7-million working age adults (25 to 64 years), and 38% or 2-million of seniors aged 65 and over. Across all aged groups, women (24%) were more likely to have a disability than men (20%).

More than 4 in 10 report disabilities as severe or very severe. 57% report their disability as “milder” while 43% had a “more severe” disability. In all cases, the disability was severe enough to limit them to some extent in their daily activities.

Mental health-related and learning disabilities are the most common types of disabilities among youth. Among working age adults, 14% had a pain-related disability, and roughly half that percentage had a disability related to mental health, flexibility or mobility (and often in combination).

Mental health-related disabilities (7%) ranked fourth in prevalence among disability types for persons aged 15 years and over, and represented just over 2 million Canadians. In fact, among youth, mental health-related (8%) was the most common type of disability, followed by learning (6%), and pain-related disabilities (4%).

Most Canadians with a disability had more than one type of disability. Of the 6.2 million Canadians with disabilities aged 15 years and over, 29% had one type of disability; 38% had two or three disabilities; and 33% had four or more.

About 59% of working-age adults with disabilities were employed compared with around 80% of those without disabilities. However, as severity of disability increased, the percentage of those employed fell from 76% among those with mild disabilities to 31% among those with very severe disabilities.

Almost one-third of working age adults with more severe disabilities are living in poverty.

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