Research summary – Environmental scan of the impacts for persons with disabilities

Official title: Environmental scan of the impacts, including social benefits, of accessibility and social inclusion for persons with disabilities

Author of report: Dr. Emile Tompa (Institute for Work and Health)

Why this study

The scan looked at the benefits of a barrier-free Canada that are possible under the Accessible Canada Act (ACA). To be specific, we measured how inclusion will benefit society, our economy and the labour market.

This scan will help:

  • policy makers make informed ACA regulations in the future
  • industries covered by the ACA understand the benefits of accessibility

Members of the disability community asked for this scan. These members want to make sure that businesses understand the benefits of accessibility. They asked us to make sure that during public stakeholder consultations we point out the market benefit to businesses that accessibility brings.

What we did

The scan looked at the differences between a fully inclusive Canada in 2040 and the less inclusive one in 2017. It compared the benefits between the 2 versions. Canada expects to have the ACA fully in place by 2040. 2017 is the most recent year for many data sources, like the Canadian Survey on Disability.

As part of the scan, we interviewed key stakeholders from across Canada. We also looked at feedback from consultations held during the development of the ACA. Finally, researchers reviewed similar policy studies from across the globe. The report identified benefits in the following 14 areas:

  • healthcare expenses
  • out-of-pocket expenses
  • output and productivity
  • quality of life and social engagement
  • life expectancy
  • informal caregiving
  • children with disabilities
  • human rights
  • transportation
  • tourism
  • increased productivity
  • administering social safety net programs
  • pensions
  • economic growth

What we found

The benefits of these changes are about $337.7 billion. This works out to be about $54,006 for every Canadian with a disability.

A barrier-free Canada means we improve the quality of life for persons with disabilities. It would also let them play a bigger part in society. For example, your quality of life is much better when you can access your workplace easily and securely. Those benefits add up to about $132.2 billion.

The scan also found that a fully inclusive and accessible society would create benefits for the public sector. Making more employment and economic openings for persons with disabilities allows them to rely less on social programs and healthcare. This in turn will save federal and provincial governments $14.7 billion while creating new tax revenue worth $34.9 billion.

We also expect that tourism and purchasing by people with disabilities will increase and make about $11.4 billion in tax revenue. This results in a total benefit of $61 billion.

What it means

The results of the scan will be used in the cost benefit analysis of future ACA regulations. They will also support the Government of Canada’s commitment to a fully accessible and inclusive Canada by 2040.

Contact us

Income Security and Social Development Branch, Accessibility Secretariat, Accessibility Implementation Division.


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