Dictionary, Census of Population, 2016
Activities of daily living

Release date: May 3, 2017

Definition

Refers to difficulties a person may have doing certain activities as a result of physical, mental, or other health-related conditions or problems.

Statistical unit(s)

Person

Classification(s)

Not applicable

Reported in

2016 (25% sample); 2011Note 1 (30% sample); 2006, 2001, 1996, 1991 and 1986 (20% sample).

Reported for

Population in private households

Question number(s)

Question 11

Responses

Question 11: Does this person have any:

a) difficulty seeing (even when wearing glasses or contact lenses)?

No
Sometimes
Often
Always

b) difficulty hearing (even when using a hearing aid)?

No
Sometimes
Often
Always

c) difficulty walking, using stairs, using his/her hands or fingers or doing other physical activities?

No
Sometimes
Often
Always

d) difficulty learning, remembering or concentrating?

No
Sometimes
Often
Always

e) emotional, psychological or mental health conditions (e.g., anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, substance abuse, anorexia, etc.)?

No
Sometimes
Often
Always

f) other health problem or long-term condition that has lasted or is expected to last six months or more?

No
Sometimes
Often
Always

Remarks

In 2016, the following instruction was provided to respondents:

The following question is about difficulties a person may have doing certain activities. Only difficulties or long-term conditions that have lasted or are expected to last for six months or more should be considered.

In addition, further instructions were given for three of the six components of the question, as follows:

Question 11a) Does this person have any difficulty seeing (even when wearing glasses or contact lenses)?

If you use glasses or contact lenses, please answer this question based on your ability to see when using these aids.

Question 11b) Does this person have any difficulty hearing (even when using a hearing aid)?

If you use a hearing aid or a cochlear implant, please answer this question based on your ability to hear when using these aids.

Question 11f) Does this person have any other health problem or long-term condition that has lasted or is expected to last for six months or more?

Exclude: any health problems previously reported in questions 11a) to 11e).

Question 11 (activities of daily living) provides information on the number of people in Canada who have difficulties with their daily activities, and whose activities are reduced because of a long-term physical, mental or other health condition. This question, which is intended only to be used to identify people who are likely to have a disability for a follow-up survey, does not itself provide an estimate of disability in Canada.

Rather, the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability (CSD), which is conducted as a follow-up survey to the census, is the main source of disability data in Canada. The population covered by the CSD includes all adults who answered 'sometimes,' 'often,' or 'always' to any of the components of the activities of daily living question on the census.

The main reason that responses to the activities of daily living question cannot be used to estimate disability in Canada is the large number of 'false positives' reported. In other words, a respondent may report a limitation on the census but may not report a disability on the CSD.

There can be a number of reasons for these false positives. For example, the response may have been obtained by proxy whereby the person answering the census believed that the individual in question had some type of activity limitation or disability, however, the individual does not consider himself or herself to have any type of limitation at the time of the CSD. Other examples of false positives are persons who were injured, sick or recovering from surgery at the time of the census but who were no longer limited in their activities at the time of the CSD.

As a result of this phenomenon, it is essential that users of the census activity limitations data be aware that this question cannot be used on its own as an estimate of the population with a disability.

Activity limitations data from the 2016 Census will be available upon special request only. These data have received minimum edits and should be used with caution.

Note

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