Persons With Disabilities

Prevalence of Disability

In 2012, approximately 89,400 people aged 15 to 64, or 14.2% of the population in this age group, reported being limited in their daily activities because of a mental or physical disability. Nova Scotia had the highest prevalence of disability of all the ten provinces. Prevalence of disability increased by age and was higher among females than males.  Among adults aged 45 to 64 years, 21.7% reported having a disability. In contrast, 9.3% of 25 to 44 year olds and 5.8% of 15 to 24 year olds reported being limited in their daily activities by a mental or physical disability. Overall, 14.9% of females aged 15 to 64 years reported having a disability compared to 13.5% of males.

Percent of Population with Disability by Age Group & Gender
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Survey on Disability, 2012, CANSIM Table 115-0001, Accessed April, 2015. (Data)


Labour Force Characteristics by Disability

Age Standardized Labor Force Characteristics
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Survey on Disability, 2012, CANSIM Table 115-0005, Accessed April, 2015. (Data)
*- Age Standardized statistic.

 

In order to distinguish the effects of age, gender or other characteristics on labour force statistics observed between people with and without disabilities, the table above presents age-standardized values to account for such differences. Age-standardization, is a technique used to allow populations to be compared when the age profiles of the populations are quite different. Persons with disabilities are older than those without a disability. In 2012, the 45 to 64 age group was 69% of all adults (between 15 to 64 years old) with disabilities.  On the other hand, the 45 to 64 age group was 41% of all adults without disabilities. These age differences between those with and without disabilities may affect employment rates, since the rates go down significantly around 55 years of age. In addition, people with abilities were more likely to be females who statistically also have lower employment rates.

While the age-standardized employment rate for people without disabilities (72.5%) in Nova Scotia is lower than the national rate (73.6%), Nova Scotia’s age-standardized employment rate (49.4%) for people with disabilities is higher than the national rate of 47.9%. However, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities in Nova Scotia (16.0%) is equal to Ontario’s as the second highest among the ten provinces.  In comparison, Nova Scotia’s unemployment rate for people without disabilities (8.8%) is the fourth highest among the ten provinces.


Employment Rate by Severity of Disability

Employment Rates by Severity of Disability
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Survey on Disability, 2012, CANSIM Table 115-0006, Accessed April, 2015. (Data)​​​​​​

Among people with disabilities, employment rates are affected and decrease with the severity of disability. This trend is observed at both the national and provincial level. However, while the employment rates for people with mild and moderate disabilities were higher at the national level compared to Nova Scotia, people with severe and very severe disabilities had higher employment rates in Nova Scotia than at the national level. Nova Scotia’s employment rates for people with severe and very severe disabilities were 42.9% and 25.8% respectively compared to 40.5% and 25.6% at the national level.


Modifications Required to Work

Modifications Required to Work for Adults With Disabilities
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Survey on Disability, 2012, CANSIM Table 115-0008, Accessed April, 2015. (Data)

 

While thousands of people reported having a physical or mental disability that limits their daily activities, there are some who can and still want to participate in the labour force and indicated the type of modifications that are required for them to work.  The results in the chart above are reported at the national level for those aged 15 to 64 years.  The top modification required to work was reduced work hours; about one in four respondents requested reduced hours. The next most cited modifications were a special chair and/or back support and job redesign. The other modifications category was 23.9% and includes modifications such as: human support, accessible elevator, communication aids, adapted washrooms, technical aids, computer or laptop with specialized software or adaptations, handrails, ramps, widened doorways and/or hallways These grouped modifications were separately required by 4% or less respondents.