The vulnerability of Canadians with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic
While the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of all Canadians, the Public Health Agency of Canada has identified that certain populations are at an increased risk of infection and of being affected by isolation measures. Canadians with disabilities may be disproportionately impacted as they may be more likely to have underlying health conditions, or to rely on outside caregivers or support to help with their daily lives. Physical distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 may also increase the overall vulnerability of Canadians with disabilities.
Using data from the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability, it is possible to shed light on the potential impacts and challenges that Canadians with disabilities may experience in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Older Canadians have been identified as a population vulnerable to COVID-19, with those aged 60 and older accounting for one-third of COVID-19 cases nationally. They are also more likely to have disabilities compared with younger age groups. In 2017, 42% of those aged 70 and older (or 1.4 million Canadians) living in private dwellings had one or more disabilities—double the rate for those aged 15 to 69 (20%).