Prevalence of Learning Disabilities

The following statistics are drawn from the Statistics Canada report on the 2006 Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS). The survey measures the prevalence of learning disabilities among Canadian children and adults.

  1. According to Statistics Canada, more children in this country have a learning disability than all other types of disabilities combined.
  2. According to Statistics Canada, of all the children with disabilities in this country, more than half (59.8%) have a learning disability.
  3. Statistics Canada reports that 3.2% of Canadian children have a learning disability – that’s the equivalent of one child in every school bus full of children.
  4. Statistics Canada reports that as children make the transition from home to school, the number diagnosed with a learning disability grows by nearly 25%. These transition years are a key time during which we need to assess children and begin accommodating those with learning disabilities so they can reach their full potential.
  5. According to Statistics Canada, more than half a million adults in this country live with a learning disability, making it more challenging for them to learn in universities and colleges, and on the job.
  6. According to Statistics Canada, learning disabilities increased considerably between 2001 and 2006 among Canadians aged 15 and over by almost 40 per cent to 631,000 people, making it one of the fastest growing types of disabilities in Canada that isn’t related to aging.

For a full copy of The Daily Release of December 3, 2007 from Statistics Canada please go to

Background and tables

PALS 2006 – Facts on Learning Limitations

PALS 2006 – Profile of Assistive Technology for People with Disabilities


March 2007

Putting a Canadian Face on Learning Disabilities (PACFOLD) was a groundbreaking applied research study released in March 2007 by the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada (LDAC).

The goal of the research study was to find out what it means to be a child, youth or adult with learning disabilities in Canada.

This three-phase study with its focus on knowledge—obtaining, quantifying and disseminating—provided a better understanding of the impact of learning disabilities on the lives of Canadian children, youth and adults.

The PACFOLD study is unique, because it represents the first time any disability organization in Canada has requested access to Statistics Canada data surveys. Six key areas were identified as significantly impacting upon persons with learning disabilities and their families. Key areas include: education, personal and social development, employment, parent and family, health, and finance.

Ten different data sets from Statistics Canada were examined, making it the most comprehensive look ever at the impact of living with a learning disability (LD) in Canada.

These included:

HALS: Health and Activity Limitation Survey (1991) 0-14 and adults

NLSCY: National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (4 cycles – 1994-2001)
PALS: Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (2001) 0-14 and adults APS: Aboriginal Peoples Survey (1991)
LSUDA: Literacy Skills Used in Daily Living (1989) IALS: International Adult Literacy Survey (1994)
PISA: Program of International Student Assessment (2000) YITS: Youth in Transition Survey (2000)
CCHS: Canadian Community Health Survey Cycle 1.2 (2002)

To view the complete applied research findings please visit


Prevalence of Learning Disabilities and PACFOLD 2007

The statistic one in 10 Canadians have LD – has been around for a long time and is the one LDAC continues to use. Why then does the data from the surveys that are included in the 2007 PACFOLD study not support this statistic? Read more