One in seven living with disability

Posted on December 29, 2009 in Equality Debates – News/ – One in seven living with disability
December 29, 2009.   Heather Scoffield, THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA–An aging population and growing awareness mean the number of people living with disabilities is on the rise in Canada, according to a newly released report.

More people with disabilities have access to jobs and the aids they need, but the wage gap between those with disabilities and those without is growing.

“The challenges people with disabilities face in their day-to-day lives are numerous and often go unnoticed,” Human Resources Minister Diane Finley says in the 61-page 2009 Federal Disability Report.

The study shows about 4.4 million Canadians – one in seven – now have a disability, up two percentage points from earlier this decade.

While all age groups saw some rise in the disability rate, adults over 65 saw their rate climb faster than other groups.

About 17.7 per cent of adult women have a disability, compared with just 15.4 per cent of men.

The most common current types of disability are related to aging: pain, mobility and agility.

Employment among working-age Canadians with disabilities rose four percentage points from 2001, to 53.5 per cent in 2006.

However, people with disabilities still earn much less than people without disabilities. Women with disabilities earn far less than men.

The reality of Canadians with intellectual disabilities is a stark contrast to the general results presented in the report, says Anna MacQuarrie, director of policy and programs for the Canadian Association for Community Living.

About 750,000 Canadians live with intellectual disabilities, she said, and they are predominantly among the poorest of the poor.

“What we’ve seen is a stagnant poverty that is persistent and staggering,” MacQuarrie said. “It’s largely without change and remarkably troubling.”

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