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What Does it Mean to be Disabled?

Angelo Jacinto/WHO

Disability is a social construct, and therefore is interpreted differently between people and over time.[1] [2]Statistics Canada considers individuals to be disabled if they have limitations in activities of daily living because of long term physical conditions, mental conditions or health problems, or if they have been told by a health professional that they have learning or mental health disabilities.[1] However, there are certainly differences in the definition of disability used for statistical purposes and that are used to determine the allocation of resources to social programs.


How do you define disability?

Disability in Canada

Test yourself, complete the following quiz about disability in Canada.


1. Dunn, PA. Canadians with disabilities. In: Westheus, A, editor. Canadian social policy: Issues and perspectives. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press; 2003.

2. The photos "Disabled but web-abled" and "Auto wash" by Angelo Jacinto and Kenan Gurbuz are two of 33 awarded photographs from the WHO photo contest "Images of Health and Disability 2003". The contest was organized in order to promote the understanding and use of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF).Used with permission. accessed April 11, 2006

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