4,417,870 people with disabilities in Canada (who has a population of: 30,893,640) yielding a 14.3% disability rate in 2006.
Disability rate is on the rise due to number of factors: including aging population and changing reporting behaviour.
Disability rate increases with age. with largest proportion of disability in the age group of 55-64, with a rate of 22.8%
Between 2001 and 2006 the number of persons who reported having a disability increased by three-quarters of a million people (+21.2%), reaching 4.4 million in 2006. At the same time, the non-disabled population experienced lesser growth, increasing by 3.3% to reach 26.2 million people. As a result, the national disability rate increased 1.9 percentage points from its level of 12.4% in 2001 to reach 14.3% in 2006.
between 2001 and 2006, about 40% of the disability rate increase is explained by the aging of the Canadian population.(This means that 60% of the disability rate increase is UNRELATED to the aging of Canadian population) The unrelated to aging increase of disability rate may be due to a change in disability profiles, reporting practices, or some combination of the two may also be at play.
The PALS is a self-reported measure of activity limitation. How respondents perceive their limitations, and willingness to report them, greatly influences the type of answers they provide.The 2006 PALS data suggest that Canadian society has continued to progress along this continuum towards increased social acceptance of the reporting of a disability.
(NOTE: the 2012 data is set to be released in DECEMBER 2013)
The number of persons reporting a mild disability increased by the greatest amount
Persons with mild disabilities include individuals who may be on the margin between reporting and not reporting an activity limitation. If people's tendency to report their particular health problem or physical or mental condition as an activity limitation increases, then the rate of mild disabilities would be expected to rise. Those with moderate and severe disabilities are less likely to not report their disability status.
Chart 5 shows that over the five-year period between 2001 and 2006, the severity of disabilities for adults (age 15 and older) increased in a stepped fashion with the largest increase in the number of persons reporting mild disabilities (+26.6%) followed by moderate (+20.6%), severe (+19.2%), and very severe (+16.4%).
Chart 3 shows the 2006 disability rates standardized to the 2001 population; this provides an indication of the amount of the growth in disability that can be explained by population aging. To control for the impact of population aging on disability rates, comparisons over time are made using the "age-standardized disability rate." The latter removes the effects of differences in the age structure of populations among areas and over time. Looking at the data for Canada, the disability rate in 2006 would have been 13.5% instead of 14.3% if population aging had not occurred. Thus, between 2001 and 2006, about 40% of the disability rate increase is explained by the aging of the Canadian population. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/89-628-x/2007002/4125018-eng.htm