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Canadian Survey on Disability, 2012

Released: 2014-12-03

Learning and mental health-related disabilities among Canadians aged 15 years and older, 2012

To coincide with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Statistics Canada is releasing two fact sheets on learning and mental health-related disabilities among Canadians aged 15 years and older. According to the Canadian Survey on Disability (CSD), respondents are considered to have a disability not only if they report a difficulty or impairment because of a long-term condition or health problem, but also if they report that they are limited in their daily activities as a result of their condition.

Learning disabilities

In 2012, approximately 622,300 Canadians (2.3%) aged 15 years and older reported a learning disability. The most prevalent underlying learning conditions reported included attention deficit disorder (ADD) attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other developmental disorders of scholastic skills.

The prevalence of a learning disability as a proportion of all disabilities declines with age. Among those aged 15 to 24 who reported at least one type of disability, nearly half of them reported a learning disability. For those aged 65 and over, the proportion fell to 1 in 11.

Adults with a learning disability had overall lower levels of educational attainment than those without any disability. Among adults aged 15 to 64 not currently attending school, those with a learning disability were more than twice as likely as adults without a disability to have not completed high school.

In 2012, 63.5% of Canadians aged 15 to 64 with a learning disability were not in the labour force, and another 7.7% were unemployed. The employment rate of working-age adults (aged 15 to 64) with a learning disability was 28.8%, less than half the employment rate for those without any disability (73.6%). Moreover, employed adults with a learning disability worked fewer hours per week on average than those without a disability (28 hours versus 37 hours).

Mental health-related disabilities

In 2012, close to 1.1 million (3.9%) Canadians aged 15 years and older reported a mental health-related disability. The most commonly reported underlying mental health conditions were anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder, as well as schizophrenia, substance abuse and anorexia.

The occurrence of a mental health-related disability as a proportion of all disabilities declined as age increased. Among Canadians aged 15 to 24 who reported at least one type of disability, nearly half reported a mental-health disability. In contrast, for older Canadians, the proportion was one in seven.

Adults with mental health-related disabilities had overall lower levels of educational attainment than those who did not have any disability. For example, among Canadians aged 15 to 64 who were not in school and who reported a mental health-related disability, almost one in five reported not completing high school. In comparison, about one in eight adults without any type of disability did not finish high school.

The employment rate of working-age adults (aged 15 to 64) with a mental health-related disability was 35.9%, less than half the employment rate of those who did not have any type of disability (73.6%). Even when employed, this group had a lower median employment income compared with those who did not report any disability. Those with a mental health-related disability were also three times more likely than those without any disability to rely on government transfers as their major source of income (57.8% versus 18.7%).

Products

The fact sheets "Mental health-related disabilities among Canadians aged 15 years and older, 2012" and "Learning disabilities among Canadians aged 15 years and older, 2012," as part of Canadian Survey on Disability, 2012 (Catalogue number89-654-X), are now available from the Browse by key resource module of our website under Publications.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; mediahotline@statcan.gc.ca).

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