Data on the number of Canadians living with disabilities, the amount governments spend on disability supports and the number of people on waiting lists for services is not well documented. There is no requirement for our governments to collect or publicly report this information. Even the 2013 Canadian Survey on Disability, which lists prevalence rates of different types of disabilities by province or territory and age group, notes many numbers were “too unreliable to publish” or should be “used with caution”.
How do our governments make spending decisions without knowing how many people require supports? How do they anticipate what type of supports will be needed in coming years? Without the proper information, we can’t make informed decisions.
A national program could create a nationwide data collection system and reporting standards to provide a clear picture of provincial and territorial performance. We could then direct resources to identified areas of need.