An aging population and growing awareness mean the number of people living with disabilities is on the rise in Canada, says a newly released report.
More people with disabilities have access to jobs and the tools and aids they need, says the study, 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 introduction to the 2009 Federal Disability Report.
The 61-page national portrait of disability shows that about 4.4 million Canadians – one in seven – now has a disability, an increase from earlier this decade.
The report crunches newly released data from the 2006 census and compares it with similar numbers in the 2001 census.
Then, 12.4 per cent of Canadians reported having a disability. Now, the disability rate has climbed more than two percentage points, to 14.3 per cent.
The analysis cites the aging of the population for much of the increase.
While all age groups saw some rise in the disability rate, adults over 65 saw their rate climb faster than other groups.
The research also points to an increase in reported learning disabilities.