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Canadian Survey on Disability – Reports A demographic, employment and income profile of Canadians with disabilities aged 15 years and over, 2017

HIGHLIGHTS

  • In 2017, one in five (22%) of the Canadian population aged 15 years and over – or about 6.2 million individuals – had one or more disabilities.
  • The prevalence of disability increased with age, from 13% for those aged 15 to 24 years to 47% for those aged 75 years and over.
  • Women (24%) were more likely to have a disability than men (20%).
  • Disabilities related to pain, flexibility, mobility, and mental health were the most common disability types.
  • Among youth (aged 15 to 24 years), however, mental health-related disabilities were the most prevalent type of disability (8%).
  • Among those aged 25 to 64 years, persons with disabilities were less likely to be employed (59%) than those without disabilities (80%).
  • As the level of severity increased, the likelihood of being employed decreased. Among individuals aged 25 to 64 years, 76% of those with mild disabilities were employed, whereas 31% of those with very severe disabilities were employed.
  • Among those with disabilities aged 25 to 64 years who were not employed and not currently in school, two in five (39%) had potential to work. This represents nearly 645,000 individuals with disabilities.
  • Persons with more severe disabilities (28%) aged 25 to 64 years were more likely to be living in poverty (as measured by the Market Basket Measure) than their counterparts without disabilities (10%) or with milder disabilities (14%).

Learning Disabilities Statistics

The following tables and data are focused on learning disabilities and mental health related disabilities.

Canadian population aged 15 years and over with a disability, by disability type and sex, 2017
Table summary
Disability type Both Women Men
number percent number percent number percent
Learning 1,105,680 3.9 560,970 3.9 544,700 4.0
Mental health-related* 2,027,370 7.2 1,272,490 8.9 754,880 5.5

Prevalence: For youth, mental health-related (8%) and learning (6%) were the most common disability types.

Three out of five youth with disabilities have a mental health-related disability

As previously discussed, the most prevalent disability type among youth was mental health-related (8%). This represented approximately 60% of the over half a million (546,410) youth aged 15 to 24 years with disabilities.  Although the prevalence of mental health-related disabilities was higher overall for women than men (9% compared to 6% respectively, this difference was particularly pronounced for those aged 15 to 24 years, among whom the ratio was two to one (11% compared to 5%, respectively).

Employment and Education for Youth with Disabilities, Aged 15 to 24 Years

In addition, these disability types also frequently co-occurred—nearly a quarter (25%) of all youth with disabilities had both mental health-related and learning disabilities in combination. In fact, over three-quarters (77%) of all youth with disabilities had a mental health-related disability and/or a learning disability. This is important to note as it may have implications for the types of challenges faced by youth with disabilities, and the types of accommodations they need to transition successfully into post-secondary education or employment.

While the prevalence of mental health-related and/or learning disabilities was high among youth (77%), it was even higher among those who were neither in school nor employed. Nearly nine in ten (87%) of those who were neither in school nor employed had a mental health-related disability, a learning disability, or both (three in ten had both).

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