Publications, opinions, and speeches
We Are All Disabled
Published on 27/07/2015
The Canadian Survey on Disability reports that only 14 percent of Canadians have a disabling condition. But the potential for disability in the Canadian population is far greater than the survey snapshot, which illustrates a point in time. Two main drivers will change the national story.
First, Canada is aging rapidly with one-quarter of the population expected to be over age 65 by the year 2030. While seniors are healthier and living longer than before, the incidence of disability rises with age. A second factor is the growing rate of chronic disease. When 80 percent of adult Canadians are at risk of experiencing one or more chronic health conditions, the national story on disability needs to be rewritten. We are no longer talking about the possibility – but rather the likelihood – of disability over a lifetime. Most Canadians or their relatives will experience some form of physical and/or mental impairment over the course of their lifetime.
This commentary argues that if we understood disability as a population issue rather than the condition of a designated group, the policy responses would be profoundly different. We would design homes, workplaces and communities without multiple barriers. We would make widely available to the entire population technical aids, equipment and services that are now haphazardly and scantily provided. Most important, we would drop the attitudinal barriers that separate “us” from “them.”
ISBN – 1-55382-648-5