This fact sheet provides the first results of the Canadian Survey on Disability (CSD), which was conducted by Statistics Canada in the fall of 2012. The CSD provides estimates of persons reporting a disability by type in Canada. It collected essential information on supports for persons with disabilities, as well as on their employment profile, income and participation in society.

The survey population comprised all Canadians aged 15 or older as of May 10, 2011 who were living in private dwellings. As the institutionalized population is excluded, the data, particularly for the older age groups, should be interpreted accordingly.

The CSD uses the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health framework of disability. This framework defines disability as the relationship between body function and structure, daily activities and social participation, while recognizing the role of environmental factors. In keeping with this framework, the CSD targeted respondents who not only have a difficulty or impairment due to a long-term condition or health problem but also experience a limitation in their daily activities. The CSD definition of disability includes anyone who reported being “sometimes”, “often” or “always” limited in their daily activities due to a long-term condition or health problem, as well as anyone who reported being “rarely” limited if they were also unable to do certain tasks or could only do them with a lot of difficulty.

The CSD, which was funded by Employment and Social Development Canada, incorporates significant changes from the Participation and Activity Limitation Surveys (PALS) and to the way in which disability is defined. As a result, comparisons cannot be made between PALS and CSD data. For further details on these changes, refer to the Canadian Survey on Disability, 2012: Concepts and Methods Guide, forthcoming.

An estimated 3.8 million adult Canadians reported being limited in their daily activities due to a disability in 2012. This represents 13.7% of the adult population.

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