Disability in Canada

Curated news and resources on inclusion and rights

Library > Countries > North America > Canada

This page has curated news from Canada. There are a total of 102 links.

Highlights

In Employment, Business and Work:

What is the pay gap between persons with and without disabilities?

“The 2019 CIS revealed that persons with disabilities aged 16 years and older had an average annual income of about $11,500 less than persons without disabilities ($43,400 and $55,200, respectively). This results in a 21.4% pay gap between persons with and without disabilities, or persons with disabilities earned 79 cents to every dollar earned by persons without disabilities.” (2023, Statistics Canada)

In Justice Systems and Legal Capacity:

Disability Injustice - Confronting Criminalization in Canada "Ableism is embedded in Canadian criminal justice institutions, policies, and practices, making incarceration and institutionalization dangerous – even deadly – for disabled people." A book edited by Kelly Fritsch, Jeffrey Monaghan and Emily van der Meulen (2022, UBC Press)

In Mobility, Travel, Transport and Tourism:

Ministers take steps towards ensuring disability-inclusive air travel. (2023, Disability Insider)

In Policy and Rights:

Death shouldn’t always be the sentence for suffering Canadians. “As our Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) laws expand, even supporters of MAiD have become alarmed at how widely the net is being cast. [...] We have not witnessed a slippery slope in Canada, we have fallen off a cliff.” (2022, National Observer)

Why are 15 times more Canadians than Californians choosing assisted death?

“In 2022, MAID accounted for 4.1 per cent of all deaths in Canada, compared to 0.27 per cent of all deaths in California. In the Netherlands and Belgium, which legalized assisted dying 22 years ago, 5.1 per cent of Dutch citizens and 2.5 per cent of Belgians die by MAID.” (Apr, National Post)

Contents

Accessibility and Design

Overview

Mapping Our Cities For All A Research Study on City Accessibility from the Perspective of People with Disabilities:

“nearly 60% of mapped buildings in each major city remain in the Not Accessible or Partially Accessible category.” (Jan, Access Now)

Ontario's accessibility legislation is failing. Advocates say lack of enforcement, complaints process to blame. (Jan, CBC News)

Vancouver wants to be the most accessible city in the world. The city staff told them it would be very expensive. (2023, Vancouver is Awesome)

New project tackles accessibility of heritage buildings (2021, Remi Network)

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Housing

Disabled people overrepresented in study of evicted tenants. “Within the sample of evictees, the agency says 28 per cent reported having a disability — more than double the proportion of self-identified disabled people within the total survey population.” (Apr, CBC)

Accessibility is the housing crisis no one is talking about Advocates call for adoption of universal design principles to ensure easy conversion of residential units for people with disabilities. (Mar, Financial Post)

This Ontario family has spent years looking for wheelchair accessible housing. “These parents carry their eight-year-old son up and down stairs everyday with no end in sight.” (2022, Toronto Star)

Woman with disabilities nears medically assisted death after a fruitless bid to secure an affordable apartment that doesn't worsen her chronic illnesses. (2022, CTV News)

Court Case on whether appopriate housing is a human right for people with disabilities Nova Scotia government argues that it isn't and they have the right to define the quality of social serices people receive, not the court. (2022, Halifax City News)

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Ageing

Discussion guide on ageism in Canada. (2022, Government of Canada)

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COVID-19

Impact

Outcomes in patients with and without disability admitted to hospital. "Patients with a disability who were admitted to hospital with COVID-19 had longer stays and elevated readmission risk than those without disabilities." (2022, CMAJ)

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Response

Quebecers with disabilities struggle with rapid tests, say advocates after the province ran out of PCR tests for the general public. (2022, CBC)

Accessibility of Canadian COVID-19 Testing Locations for People with Disabilities During the Third Wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic: "more than a year into the pandemic, there existed a clear lack of accessibility information for Canadian testing locations for people with disabilities." (2021, MedRxiv)

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Living with COVID-19

COVID: 1 in 9 Canadian adults have had long-term symptoms. “Almost 80 per cent of those people with long-term symptoms have them for six months or more, the report said, including 42 per cent who had them for a year or more.” (2023, CTV News)

High-risk Canadians feel forgotten as rules lift: “Can't we have lives too?” (2022, CTV News)

COVID concerns of disabled people multiply as health protocols lifted (2022, Policy Options Politiques)

Chronic exhaustion, derailed lives and no way out. This is long COVID. (2022, Maclean's)

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Climate Crisis and Environment

Disability rights don’t have to clash with environmental responsibility (2022, the Conversation)

One Year Since Deadly Heatwave Protections Still Needed: 600 people died due to extreme heat in the summer of 2021, 91% of whom were 60 or older. (2022, Human Rights Watch)

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Communication and Language

Sign Languages

How Indigenous sign language is helping this woman connect with her culture (2022, CBC)

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Conflict and Peace

Israel-Palestine Conflict

Ontario NDP removes Sarah Jama from caucus after Israel-Hamas comments. Jama posted on social media about “the generations long occupation of Palestine”. She uses a wheelchair. (2023, Global News)

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Culture, Entertainment and Media

Overview

Disability Desirability Arc Poetry Issue 102 where guest editor Therese Estacion asks: “What do we make of a disabled body or, to use disability justice group Sins Invalid’s term, bodymind that desires? A body that knows all too well how it feels to be told that it has no business wanting for love, wanting for more.” (2023, Arc)

Crip Rave Is the Revolutionary Collective Prioritising Accessibility. “There was the disorientation of the music, but also the vibrations, which left me sensing my pain in a different way ... I left that night with a new relationship to my body.” (2022, RA)

Alt-Text & Ambiguity A Poetic Approach to Image Description by Alex Haagaard and Liz Jackson (2022, Akimbo)

Acting the part: A thematic analysis of the experiences of actors with disabilities. “Many actors experience inadequate accommodations, inaccessible work sites, stigma, and being limited to disability specific roles. As a result, actors with disabilities have implemented strategies to improve their success when faced with social and physical barriers in the industry.” (2022, Canadian Journal of Disability Studies)

#CripRitual exhibition of art exploring disability culture and ritual (2022, #CripRitual)

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TV and Film

How ‘Finality of Dusk’ Breaks New Ground Deaf Cinema-Goers “In the sound design, the bass has been increased to amplify vibrations which can be felt more intensely if you aim to sit in the middle to the back rows inside a movie theater,” (2023, Hollywood Reporter)

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Data and Research

Overview

Canadian Survey on Disability, 2017 to 2022:

“New findings from the 2022 Canadian Survey on Disability (CSD) showed that 27% of Canadians aged 15 years and older, or 8.0 million people, had one or more disabilities that limited them in their daily activities. The rate of disability in Canada has increased by 5 percentage points since 2017, when 22% of Canadians, or 6.2 million people, had one or more disabilities. This increase can be partially attributed to both the aging population and the large increase in mental health-related disabilities among youth and working-age adults. In 2022, the rate of disability was higher among women (30%) than men (24%), following the same pattern from 2017.” (2023, Statistics Canada)

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Research

The HopePunkening Including Disability journal's Omnibus 2023 (2023, Including Disability)

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Disaster Risk Reduction and Crisis Response

Cyclone Fiona: people with disabilities need more support in extreme storms (2022, the Conversation)

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Economics and Social Protection

Overview

Canadians on disability overlooked amid rising inflation (2022, CTV News)

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Social Protection

B.C. professor quits federal panel in protest of Ottawa's new disability benefit. “The new benefit will provide a maximum annual benefit of $2,400 per year, or $200 per month, to eligible applicants.” (Apr, Global News)

Ontario quadriplegic mother applies for MAID over lack of access to disability supports. (2023, Global News)

Canada Disability Benefit Act “enables the Government of Canada to create and deliver a new benefit to working-age persons with disabilities in Canada.” (2023, Government of Canada) Seen as a “game changer” for people with disabilities living in poverty. (Disability Without Poverty)

What happened to the Canada Disability Benefit? “It is 2022, the election has been won and done, and as the cynics predicted, the Canada Disability Benefit is still nowhere to be seen.” (2022, Canada's National Observer)

This woman with disabilities gets only $1,169 a month. She hopes the Ontario election changes that. (2022, CBC)

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Employment, Business and Work

What is the pay gap between persons with and without disabilities?

“The 2019 CIS revealed that persons with disabilities aged 16 years and older had an average annual income of about $11,500 less than persons without disabilities ($43,400 and $55,200, respectively). This results in a 21.4% pay gap between persons with and without disabilities, or persons with disabilities earned 79 cents to every dollar earned by persons without disabilities.” (2023, Statistics Canada)

Executives with disabilities in Canada, 2019 (2023, Statistics Canada)

From the Standpoint of Employees with Disabilities: An Analysis of Workplace Accommodation Processes in the Non-Profit Sector. “The use of medical documentation creates a culture of distrust, and barriers to inclusion and a sense of belonging.” (2023, Canadian Journal of Disability Studies)

Diversity Works research looking at employment journeys of black, indigenous and people of colour with disabilities. (2022, Canadian Association for Supported Employment)

Opinion: It’s time for a culture shift where disability inclusion is concerned. By friend of the Debrief, Yazmine Laroche. (2022, Globe and Mail)

Up to $270 million is available to fund projects to connect persons with disabilities with good jobs. (2022, Government of Canada)

Employers’ lessons learned in hiring, retaining and advancing employees with disabilities (2022, Public Policy Forum)

Job boards aren’t designed with disability in mind. That needs to change (2022, CareerWise)

A report on disability inclusion in MBA programs “half of the respondents had a negative perception of employers' on-campus recruitment drives“ including stereotyping and ableism. (2022, Access to Success)

Hiring more people with disabilities can address labour shortages

"Labour shortages are one of the biggest issues facing Canadian companies right now, but there’s an underrepresented and untapped pool of skilled Canadians that could help close the gap: people with disabilities." (2021, Globe and Mail)

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Health

Dismantling systemic ableism in health research “An unheralded accessibility plan from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research is a step toward wider awareness of entrenched disability barriers.” (2023, Policy Options)

Healthcare inclusion and Indigenous people (2023, Abilities Canada)

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History and Memorial

Overview

Steven Estey: A fierce advocate and champion for disability rights, who “left an unparalleled mark on the course of human rights progress both domestically and globally.” (2023, Canadian Human Rights Commission) See also obituary on Arbor Memorial.

Former lieutenant-governor of Ontario David Onley dies at 72. “Onley, who used a motorized scooter after having polio as a child, was the first visibly disabled person to hold the position when appointed in 2007.” (2023, The Star)

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Remembering Judy Heumann

Montrealers honour disability rights activist with 'Judy Promenade' It was the first of three 'Judy Promenades' this summer in the city. (2023, CBC)

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Humanitarian, Migrants and Refugees

Migration

Migration has always been a disability justice issue. (2022, Briarpatch)

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Independent Living and Deinstitutionalization

Conditions in Institutions

My sister was sent to a nursing home against her will. We fought and won, but thousands of others aren’t so lucky.

“Three years after my sister was wrongly assessed, a news exposé revealed that 2,900 young people with developmental disabilities were in nursing homes in Ontario”. (Mar, Toronto Star)

Why there is so much happiness in this long-term care home that doubles as a Grade 6 classroom. (2022, CBC)

Making the invisible visible: an interview with Megan Linton about the harms of the institutional system, COVID-19, and disability justice. (2022, Canadian Dimension)

Discussion of and key points on Sheltered Workshops and Sub-Minimum Wage Labour 'Workers on average work more than 2 years in sheltered workshops, despite their label of “training programs”.' (2022, Invisible Institutions)

Warehousing disabled people in long-term care homes needs to stop. Instead, nationalize home care. (2022, the Conversation)

Invisible Institutions Podcast “a new documentary podcast exploring the past and present of institutions for people labelled with intellectual and developmental disabilities” (2022, Invisible Institutions)

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Indigenous People and Minority Communities

Teachings tell us of the importance of uniqueness. The Anishinaabe story about Wenabozho losing his eyeballs. (2023, Winnipeg Free Press)

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Disability Injustice - Confronting Criminalization in Canada "Ableism is embedded in Canadian criminal justice institutions, policies, and practices, making incarceration and institutionalization dangerous – even deadly – for disabled people." A book edited by Kelly Fritsch, Jeffrey Monaghan and Emily van der Meulen (2022, UBC Press)

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Lived Experience and Opinion

Disability culture is something you are a part of — not something that is happening to you:

“Disability culture isn't asking us all to put on capes and be superhuman; it's encouraging us to identify and celebrate the estimated 1.3 billion people worldwide who are disabled. Seeing disability as a culture reinforces that it's something you are a part of – not something that is just happening to you – and that leads people to connect.” (Feb, CBC)

Living with a spinal CSF Leak: making your home more accessible a detailed feature by Jodi Ettenberg on her accessibility modifications. (2023, Jodi Ettenberg)

Letters with Smokie Blindness and More-than-Human Relations: a book of letters from a guide dog and a disability studies professor. (2023, University of Manitoba Press)

Dispatches from Disabled Country a book by Catherine Frazee, “a poetics of identity, an ethos of empathy, and a sanctuary from philosophies of greed and utility.” (2023, UBC Press)

A Disability Justice Issue featuring writing and art from activists across Canada. (2022, Briarpatch)

What Does It Mean to ‘Crip’ Healing?

'We’re used to thinking of “healing” as specific treatments — surgery, pills, herbs, acupuncture. Those things are useful and important. But a cripped definition of healing would include anything that supports someone’s disabled body/mind. My cane; my friend’s garden bench chair they sit on while they weed; my heating pad and excellent ice packs; my friend’s sensory friendly hijab; the CRV my friend and his partner bought that can easily fit his wheelchair in the back; stim toys; my car with its disabled parking permit; the disabled parking spaces at the Grocery Outlet; the portable wheelchair at the protest; Zoom captions; the autistic Black, brown, Indigenous, Asian and mixed race group I hang out in online; and my close and extended disabled BIPOC friend family who are available to bitch and vent and commiserate and troubleshoot and doula each other: none of these are healing in the “cure” sense. But all of these things do a lot to ensure my or someone else’s chances of an excellent disabled life.' (2021, The Tyee)

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Mobility, Travel, Transport and Tourism

Overview

Uber must pay wheelchair user $35,000 and provide accessible rides, according to a ruling by B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. (Mar, Vancouver Sun)

Beryl Potter Takes On Paratransit Much can be learned from the disability activist’s 1981 protest against Wheel-Trans. An excerpt from Dustin Galer's biography of her. (Jan, The Tyee)

People with disabilities bearing the brunt of travel woes: “Whereas a lost or damaged suitcase is an inconvenience, a lost or damaged mobility device robs people of their dignity, their mobility, and their independence, and it can pose a risk to their health. This is far more than an inconvenience. In many cases, it may be a violation of fundamental human rights.” (2022, Canadian Human Rights Commission)

Toronto City Council Today Banned Robots from Sidewalks, to Protect People with Disabilities (2021, AODA)

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Air Travel

First-ever Air Accessibility Summit hits Ottawa (May, CTV News)

Air Canada Fined For Accessibility Lapses “Air Canada has been slapped with a series of fines for failing disabled passengers in 2023, racking up penalties worth a total of CA$260,000 over the last 12 months.” (2023, Pyok)

Air Canada summoned to Ottawa after multiple incidents involving passengers with wheelchairs. “Transport minister says airline must present a plan to address treatment of passengers with disabilities.” (2023, CBC) Air Canada announced a series of measures to reduce barriers and make travel simpler.

Hidden cameras capture passenger who uses wheelchair struck by lift on Air Canada flight | CBC News Months-long Marketplace investigation reveals people with disabilities facing safety issues while travelling. (2023, CBC)

Wheelchair users on flights are passengers — not problems, says Canada's chief accessibility officer. (2023, CBC)

Toronto man wins disability accommodation fight against Air Canada “Seven years after Tim Rose was denied access to an Air Canada flight because of the size of his power wheelchair, the Canadian Transportation Agency ruled the country's largest airline needs to do more to accommodate passengers with mobility devices.” (2023, CBC)

Ministers take steps towards ensuring disability-inclusive air travel. (2023, Disability Insider)

Flight Attendant Refuses to Store Passenger's Wheelchair. the story unfolds on TikTok. (2023, Distractify)

Toronto woman with disability says flying Air Canada made her feel like an 'unwanted burden' (2023, CBC)

Airlines can't seem to safely transport my wheelchair, but they've found a way to move horses by air. (2022, CBC)

Air Canada broke my $30,000 motorized wheelchair. Here’s what happened next (2022, Toronto Life)

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Policy and Rights

Assisted Dying and Euthanasia

The Canadian State Is Euthanizing Its Poor and Disabled

“Canada boasts one of the world’s highest assisted-death rates, supposedly enabling the terminally ill to die with dignity. However, this suicide program increasingly resembles a dystopian replacement for care services, exchanging social welfare for euthanasia.” (May, Jacobin)

Why are 15 times more Canadians than Californians choosing assisted death?

“In 2022, MAID accounted for 4.1 per cent of all deaths in Canada, compared to 0.27 per cent of all deaths in California. In the Netherlands and Belgium, which legalized assisted dying 22 years ago, 5.1 per cent of Dutch citizens and 2.5 per cent of Belgians die by MAID.” (Apr, National Post)

Quebec man chooses assisted dying after 4-day ER stay leaves horrific bedsore. "Medical assistance in dying is more easily available and on a more regular basis than some of the most basic care." (Apr, CBC)

Reality, not religion, is the reason people need MAiD-free health care “The only MAiD-free spaces left are in faith-based facilities. This is a result of vigorous lobbying by well-funded and privileged groups, and the abandonment of disabled people.” (Apr, Policy Options)

Canada’s MAID policy is facilitating death by poverty. “A 56-year-old Vancouver woman says she will die this month because British Columbia’s provincial government is refusing to cover essential health costs for her disabling illness.” (2023, Ricochet)

Have Assisted Dying Laws Gone Too Far? “The title of the act is ‘medical assistance in dying,’” says Virginia Duff, a disabled psychiatrist. “But these aren’t people who would otherwise be dying. We’re not just assisting them. We’re actually making it happen, which is very different.” (2023, The Walrus)

I am a MAID provider. “Canada’s MAID laws are missing fundamental safeguards for vulnerable people. That needs to change.” (2023, Maclean's)

Warnings from experts that a lack of safeguards in Medical Assistance In Dying (MAID) mean it might be suggested to people who would not have otherwise considered the procedure, and of instances where “people have sought to be killed because they weren’t getting adequate government support to live.” (2022, AP News)

Death shouldn’t always be the sentence for suffering Canadians. “As our Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) laws expand, even supporters of MAiD have become alarmed at how widely the net is being cast. [...] We have not witnessed a slippery slope in Canada, we have fallen off a cliff.” (2022, National Observer)

Reactions from activists. to Canada's supported for assisted dying. (2022, Bio Edge) One woman in her late 30s asked “If I'm not able to access health care am I then able to access death care?” (Jun, CTV News).

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Politics and Elections

Convoy Occupation's Politics Pose Unique Threat to Disabled People

"People who required support could no longer access it; streets were no longer being cleared of snow in some areas; and sidewalks had vehicles parked on them. Public space was overrun by those whose interpretation of “freedom” left no room for social responsibility to others and treated someone else’s choice to wear a mask as a provocation." (2022, The Maple)

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Relationships, Sex and Reproductive Rights

Supporting people with disabilities in pregnancy Research on pregnancies in Ontario. “Although many from the study had healthy pregnancies and benefited from multidisciplinary care teams and providers who advocated for their needs, there were also many barriers to accessible maternal care.” (Mar, Canadian Institutes of Health Research)

Disability Justice in Queer Communities (2022, Rainbow Salad)

I'm queer and disabled. Pride isn't accessible for me. (2022, CBC)

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Sport and Paralympics

'Finally': Canadian Para athletes to be financially rewarded for medals won at Paralympics. “Canadian Paralympians will now receive $20,000 for winning gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze. This is equal to the amount Canadian Olympians receive.” (Jan, CBC)

Canadian Para athletes not immune to hazards of travel, where damaged equipment can cost shot at a medal. (2023, CBC)

Canadian Paralympic charts new 10-year strategy. “Outlining a vision that intertwines the advancement of Paralympic sport with the pursuit of a more inclusive Canada.” (2023, CPC)

How an outdoor enthusiast with physical disabilities found healing in Ontario backcountry. (2023, CBC)

Informing Future Paralympic Media Approaches: The Perspective of Canadian Paralympic Athletes. “I have no problem talking a little bit about how I got started in the sport or whatever. I just don't want that to be the primary focus of the article. I don't want it to be focused on my disability. I want it to be focused on my ability.” (2022, Project ECHO)

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