New Statscan report focuses on episodic disabilities

Wavelengths of various magnitude, to represent differing dynamics of disability
Date posted

Using data from the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability, Statistics Canada has taken a close look at the demographic, employment and workplace accommodation profiles of people with episodic disabilities in a report called The Dynamics of Disability: Progressive, Recurrent or Fluctuating Limitations. In the report, released in December 2019, Statscan compares relatively stable disabilities that result in consistent and unchanging limitations with three categories of episodic disabilities: those with progressive, recurrent or fluctuating limitations. It refers to the concept of different types of changing limitations as "disability dynamics."

The main findings of the report include the following:

  • Of the 3.8 million people with disability dynamics (representing 61% of all people with disabilities 15 years of age and older), nearly 1.4 million (37%) experienced progressive limitations that worsened over time, over 1.5 million (41%) experienced recurrent limitations that included periods of a month or more without limitations, and over 0.8 million (22%) experienced fluctuating limitations that changed within any given month.
  • The employment rate was highest for those with recurrent limitations (65%) and lowest for those with progressive limitations (40%). For those with fluctuating or continuous limitations, the employment rates were in the middle range at 53% and 59% respectively.¬†
  • Around half of employed persons with progressive or fluctuating limitations (56% and 49%, respectively) required workplace accommodations. By comparison, less than a third (31%) of employed persons with recurrent or continuous limitations required workplace accommodations.