What Qualifies As A Disability In Canada

DEFINITION:Disability (noun): In Canada, a disability refers to any physical, cognitive, mental, or sensory impairment that has a substantial and long-term impact on a person’s ability to perform daily activities or participate fully in society. It is a protected characteristic under Canadian human rights legislation and is recognized under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


1. What constitutes a physical disability in Canada?
A physical disability in Canada includes medical conditions or impairments that affect a person’s mobility, dexterity, stamina, or overall bodily functions. Examples may include paralysis, muscular dystrophy, arthritis, or limb loss.

2. What types of cognitive disabilities are recognized in Canada?
Cognitive disabilities recognized in Canada encompass conditions such as intellectual disabilities, memory impairments, learning disabilities, and neurological disorders affecting cognitive functions. Examples include Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, dementia, and traumatic brain injuries.

3. Are mental health conditions considered disabilities in Canada?
Yes, mental health conditions are recognized as disabilities in Canada when they significantly impact a person’s ability to perform daily activities or participate in society. Examples include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

4. Can a sensory impairment be considered a disability in Canada?
Yes, sensory impairments such as visual or hearing impairments can be considered disabilities in Canada. These impairments must substantially limit a person’s ability to perform daily activities or fully participate in society to qualify as a disability.

5. What determines if an impairment has a substantial and long-term impact?
The substantial and long-term impact of an impairment is determined by considering the severity, duration, and permanence of the impairment. Medical professionals, specialists, and relevant healthcare practitioners may provide assessments and documentation to support the impact of the disability.

6. Are temporary impairments considered disabilities in Canada?
Temporary impairments that do not meet the substantial and long-term impact criteria are generally not covered under disability legislation. However, accommodations may be provided for individuals with temporary disabilities to ensure equal participation and access, depending on the specific circumstances.

7. Are chronic illnesses considered disabilities in Canada?
Chronic illnesses may qualify as disabilities in Canada if they meet the substantial and long-term impact criteria. Conditions such as multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, and HIV/AIDS can be considered disabilities if they substantially limit a person’s ability to perform daily activities or fully engage in society.