Video - Canadian Survey on Disability: From 2017 to 2022, American Sign Language

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Accessibility In Canada: Results from the 2022 Canadian Survey on Disability - Video transcript

In addition, a new data visualization tool provides an interactive way to view data on barriers to accessibility from the 2022 CSD.

Persons with mild disabilities are more likely to be employed than those with very severe disabilities

Labour market outcomes of persons with disabilities have been identified as a core indicator under the Performance Indicator Framework for Accessibility Data: Employment. The framework serves as the foundation for measuring progress in the identification and removal of barriers to accessibility associated with the priority areas set out in the Accessible Canada Act.

According to the 2022 CSD, adults with disabilities aged 25 to 64 years had lower rates of employment (62%) than those without disabilities (78%). Additionally, among persons with disabilities, employment rates decreased as the severity of disability increased. In addition, among employed persons aged 25 to 64, persons with disabilities were more likely to work part-time—that is, less than 30 hours per week—than their counterparts without disabilities (16% versus 13%).

More than 741,000 persons with disabilities have potential for paid employment in an inclusive labour market

Given the discrepancy in the employment rate among persons with and without disabilities, the concept of work potential is used to determine how many persons could be employed within an inclusive, accessible, and accommodating labour market. The situations in which individuals have to the potential to work vary. For example, those who are working by choice but plan to look for employment or those are unemployed but could be employed if an appropriate workplace accommodation (e.g., an assistive device or a flexible work arrangement) were made available to them would both be considered to have work potential. Among those with disabilities aged 25 to 64 years who were not employed in 2022, 42% (or 741,280 persons) could be classified as having work potential.

The proportion of youth with disabilities not in employment, education or training (NEET) provides information on young people who may be experiencing difficulties transitioning from school to the labour market and could be at risk for low income and social exclusion. Among youth with disabilities, 17% of persons aged 15 to 24 years were neither in school nor employed. Furthermore, youth aged 15 to 24 with more severe disabilities (28%) were more than twice as likely as those with milder disabilities (12%) to be neither in school nor employed. According to Labour Force Survey, 11% of all youth aged 15-24 years of age were in NEET in 2022. See Note to Readers for more information.

Persons with disabilities are more likely to live in poverty than those without disabilities

According to the 2022 CSD, 10% of persons with disabilities aged 15 years and older were living below the poverty line, compared with 7% of those without disabilities, based on the Market Basket Measure. The Market Basket Measure refers to Canada's official measure of poverty based on the cost of a specific basket of goods and services representing a modest, basic standard of living. Furthermore, persons with more severe disabilities (13%) were more likely to be living below Canada's official poverty line than those with milder disabilities (7%).

A key component of the CSD is to provide information on needs for various disability supports, as well as barriers to accessing those supports. In 2022, more than half of those with disabilities (56%; nearly 4.5 million people) reported at least one unmet need when it comes to either aids, devices, medication or healthcare services. Nearly three-quarters of those with unmet needs (73%; 3.2 million people) cited cost as a reason for those unmet needs.  Severity of disability has an impact on the likelihood of having unmet needs due to cost for disability supports. Among persons with milder disabilities, 32% had at least one unmet need for an aid, device, prescription medication, or healthcare service due to cost. More than half of persons with more severe disabilities (53%) had at least one such unmet need.

Visualizing data on barriers to accessibility

The initial results of the 2022 CSD showed that 72% of persons with disabilities reported that they experienced one or more of the 27 types of barriers to accessibility because of their condition at least sometimes in the year prior to the survey. The new data visualization tool allows users to disaggregate data on the 27 types of barriers to accessibility by disability type or disability severity, as well as by age group, gender and geography. 

Note to Readers

The Canadian Survey on Disability (CSD) sample is selected from the Census of Population respondents, making it a postcensal survey. For methodological details see Surveys and statistical programs - Canadian Survey on Disability (CSD).

A global severity score was developed for the CSD, which was calculated for each person using the number of disability types that a person has, the level of difficulty experienced in performing certain tasks, and the frequency of activity limitations. To simplify the concept of severity, four severity classes were established: mild, moderate, severe, and very severe. "Mild" and "moderate" classes were collapsed into "milder," while "severe" and "very severe" classes were collapsed into "more severe." It is important to understand, however, that the name assigned to each class is simply intended to facilitate use of the severity score and is not a label or judgment concerning the person's level of disability.

Information regarding labour force status for persons with and without disabilities comes from data linked to the CSD from the 2021 census and, therefore, reflects the reference weeks for the census, May 2 to May 8, 2021.

Data used to analyze the concepts of work potential and youth not in employment, education or training comes directly from the 2022 CSD, rather than data linked to CSD from the 2021 Census. Employment and education information therefore reflect the CSD reference period. Work potential, as defined for persons with disabilities, is not applicable to persons without disabilities. Data for youth without disabilities not in employment, education or training is not available for same reference period as was used in this analysis and A demographic, employment and income profile of persons with disabilities aged 15 years and over in Canada, 2022.

Generally, persons who were officially unemployed, or who were not in the labour force but stated they would be looking for work in the next 12 months, and that either they were not prevented from working due to their condition, or that workplace accommodations existed that would enable them to work were classified as potential workers. See Text Box 5 in A demographic, employment and income profile of persons with disabilities aged 15 years and over in Canada, 2022 for detailed information on how work potential was defined.

The Market Basket Measure is Canada's official measure of poverty since 2018. The measure is based on the cost of a specific set ("basket") of goods and services representing a modest, basic standard of living (e.g., food, clothing, shelter) for a given region and family size.  The disposable income of a family is then compared against this threshold to determine whether the family is "at or above" versus "below." Individuals in a family living below the threshold are considered to have low income or be living in poverty.

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; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).