Accessibility for Everyone, Everywhere

According to PALS1 , the overall rate of disability in general in Canada was 3.6 million people or 12.4% in 2001. By 2006, 4.4 million Canadians or 21.2% had reported they have a disability. Reported rates of disability in Ontario have also grown between 2001 and 2006 statistics – Ontario had 15.5% of its population report they had disabilities in 2006 whereas Quebec reported 10.4% and Nova Scotia 20.0% of its population.

Among children aged 14 and under, an estimated 202,350 (3.7%) children were reported to have disabilities in 2006 compared to 3.3% of children in 2001. Children under the age of 4 who were reported to have one or more disabilities, 69.8% of the disabilities were related to a chronic health problem, such as asthma, severe allergies, attention deficit disorder (with or without hyperactivity) and autism.

Many people who we used to refer to as Seniors or the Elderly have recently decided to self-identify as Older Adults.

Older Adult Classifications:

  • Young old: 65-75
  • Middle old: 75-85
  • Oldest old: 85+

When the disability legislation came out Ontario estimated that the proportion of Persons with Disabilities who self identify will increase to nearly 20 percent within two decades. The national statistic of persons who self indentify already exceeds that 20% mark.

These statistics add a considerable challenge to service providers who wish to serve both Ontarians and visitors with disabilities, many of whom have considerable disposable income for travel for business and pleasure.

Additionally, immigration trends have resulted in many parts of Ontario becoming very cosmopolitan environments with both customers and service providers hailing from all over the world. It is imperative that there be understanding and respect for all differences – be they race, culture, religion, language or any other diversity.


While the main thrust of our accessibility and inclusion training is about people with disabilities, we also include leaning on intersecting identities which include gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic background, culture, language, literacy etc.

When one considers intersectionality, the realities and the barriers for individuals are usually quite different and often overwhelming. EMPOWWORD Inc. incorporates learning around the intersecting identities which helps organizations meet the needs of their staff and customers.

The Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS) is conducted by statistics Canada every ten years to collect information on disability in the country.