Canadian Survey on Disability (CSD)

Detailed information for 2022




Every 5 years

Record number:


The purpose of the Canadian Survey on Disability (CSD) is to provide information about Canadian youth and adults whose everyday activities are limited due to a long-term condition or health-related problem. This information may be used to plan and evaluate services, programs and policies for Canadians living with disabilities to help enable their full participation in society. The survey is sponsored by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

Data release - December 1, 2023


The CSD gathers information about Canadians aged 15 and over whose daily activities are limited due to a long-term condition or health-related problem.

Information from the CSD may be used by all levels of government, as well as associations for persons with disabilities and researchers working in the field of disability. Data may be used to plan and evaluate policies and programs for Canadians with disabilities to help enable their full participation in society. In particular, information on adults with disabilities is essential for the effective development and operation of the Employment Equity Program. Specifically, the Employment Equity statistics for persons with disabilities rely on four key CSD-specific data concepts: long term disability, employment disadvantage, perception of employment disadvantage and employment accommodations. Data on disability are also used to fulfill Canada's international agreement relating to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Additionally, new questions about accessibility barriers will be used to evaluate the impact of the Accessible Canada Act which came into law in 2019.

The survey collects information on: the type and severity of disability, use of assistive aids, devices and technologies, daily help received or required, use of various health-care therapies and services, educational attainment, labour force participation details, requirements and unmet needs for accommodations at school or work, medication and cannabis use, accessibility barriers, the experience of being housebound, social isolation, food security, homelessness, Veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces with disabilities, Internet use, sources of income, sexual orientation and COVID-19.


  • Disability
  • Education
  • Equity and inclusion
  • Health
  • Society and community
  • Work, income and spending

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The population covered by the CSD consists of all persons aged 15 and over as of May 11, 2021 (Census Day), who reported having a difficulty or long-term condition to the Activities of Daily Living (ADL) question on the 2021 Census of Population, long-form questionnaire. The ADL is a multi-step question with six parts and is asked of persons living in private dwellings in the 10 provinces and the 3 territories. Persons living on First Nations reserves are not included, nor are those living in collective dwellings, such as institutional residences and Canadian Armed Forces bases.

The target population for the CSD corresponds to a subset of the covered population, namely persons who reported on the CSD that they were limited in their daily activities due to a disability.

Instrument design

The CSD questionnaire was developed in collaboration with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). A content review of the 2017 CSD was conducted among over 300 subject matter experts and stakeholders to identify data gaps as well as new and emerging priorities.

Having comparable data was a top consideration among those consulted as were several new topics and themes. Efforts were taken to identify variables where historical comparisons could be made between the 2017 and 2022 CSD cycles and new content recommendations were prioritized.

While preserving comparability with the 2017 CSD was a priority, modifications to some questions were necessary to remove or replace outdated information and to ensure currency and relevancy of the 2022 cycle. Also, some questions changed to incorporate harmonized content or to expand research potential.

New topics covered by the 2022 CSD include cannabis use, accessibility barriers, social isolation, food security, homelessness, sexual orientation, disability self-identification and COVID-19.

In general, gauging comparability between 2017 and 2022 should be assessed carefully by researchers and data users. This can be done by using documentation such as the Canadian Survey on Disability, 2022: Concepts and Methods Guide as well as the 2022 CSD User Guide and 2022 CSD Data Dictionaries which will be available in the Research Data Centre (RDC) along with the 2022 CSD analytical files in the winter of 2024.

Following on the approach taken in 2017, the 2022 CSD was collected using an Internet-based Electronic Questionnaire (EQ). The 2022 questionnaire was tested in both official languages throughout the development process. Qualitative content testing was conducted virtually by Questionnaire Design Resources Centre (QDRC) at Statistics Canada with participants from across Canada. The EQ application also underwent qualitative testing facilitated by QDRC.

One final step was taken with respect to content development for the 2022 CSD: an in-depth review of 2021 Census of Population variables for their potential record linkage with the CSD dataset. This resulted in the addition of approximately 350 census variables covering 15 distinct subject matter areas linked to the final CSD data files for 2022.


This is a sample survey with a cross-sectional design.

Survey frame:
The CSD sample is selected from the 2021 Census of Population long-form respondents aged 15 and over who reported having a difficulty or long-term condition to at least one of the ADL questions. These census respondents make up the CSD frame.

Sampling design:
The sample design is a stratified two-phase design based on the 2021 Census of Population. The first phase corresponds to the selection of the sample of households that receive the census long-form questionnaire as part of the census itself, and the second phase corresponds to the selection of persons for the CSD sample.

With funding from Veterans Affairs Canada, the 2022 CSD has increased its sample size and oversampled Veterans to address the data needs on the population of Veterans who have a disability.

The CSD sample was selected to ensure sufficient sample sizes in each of the estimation domains and to optimize sample allocation.

Domains of estimation and stratification:
Domains of estimation are groups of units for which estimates must be produced with an adequate level of precision. The domains of estimation for the CSD consist of the provinces cross-classified with the following age groups: 15 to 24 years, 25 to 44 years, 45 to 64 years, 65 to 74 years, and 75 years and over. In Prince Edward Island, those aged 15 to 24 years are grouped with those aged 25 to 44 years into a single domain. In the territories, all age groups are combined (15 years and over).

Each estimation domain is then subdivided into strata. Stratification makes the sampling strategy efficient, ensuring that the sample sizes are adequate for the known areas of interest and helps prevent a "bad" sample from being selected. The census sampling design was taken into account when forming strata in each domain. The strata group persons with similar preliminary sampling weights (i.e. remote or non-remote areas) and similar levels of potential disability severity (i.e. mild, moderate or severe). The degree of severity used for stratification purposes is approximated by considering the answers to the six ADL questions and the number of these that are positive. Hence up to six strata are created within each domain by crossing the three severity levels with the fact of living in a remote area or not.

Allocation method:
A method of optimal allocation among the strata in a particular domain was used, taking into account different types of sample size loss, such as the expected non-response and the expected false positive rate (individuals who answered in the affirmative to the ADL questions in the census but have no disability according to the CSD) in each stratum.

Sampling method:
Within each stratum, a sample was drawn using systematic sampling, after sorting the frame by collection unit, to minimize the chance of selecting more than one person per household.

Sample size:
The final sample of the 2022 CSD contained a total of 54,000 units sent to collection.

While the CSD did not cover persons who did not report any difficulties or conditions to the ADL questions in the census, a sample of approximately 140,000 of these individuals (called the NO sample) is nonetheless included in the final CSD data files. These people are all considered to be people without a disability. This sample allows the computation of disability rates, which require estimates for the entire population, not just persons with a disability. This sample was not sent to collection.

An additional sample of approximately 5,000 persons was also selected among persons who did not report any difficulties or conditions to the ADL questions in the census as part of a methodological research project. Only the Disability Screening Questions (DSQ) were asked to these persons to see if they had a disability or not. This sample was sent for online collection only, without any non-response follow-up. This sample is used to study the extent to which the ADL questions on the census cover people with disabilities.

More details on the sampling design, the domains of estimation, the stratification, the allocation and the sample sizes are available through the Canadian Survey on Disability, 2022: Concepts and Methods Guide.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2022-06-03 to 2022-11-30

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data were collected directly from survey respondents and also linked from the 2021 Census of Population.

Collection for the 2022 CSD was done using an Internet-based electronic questionnaire (EQ). Respondents could answer the EQ directly online without interviewer assistance (i.e., self-response) using a secure access code they received in the mail. We refer to this type of collection using the acronym rEQ. In addition, telephone interviews were used during the collection period, as well as in the middle and at the end of collection for non-response follow-up. For this type of collection mode, the interviewers asked the questions to the respondent and entered the answers directly in the respondent's EQ during the interview. The acronym iEQ is used to refer to this type of collection.

Survey respondents received an invitation to complete the survey online (respondent-led EQ), and incomplete cases were transferred to regional offices for follow-up, or interviewer-led EQ collection. Approximately one month into collection, representatives from Statistics Canada were deployed to assist collection in Nunavut.

A few days before the start of collection, invitation letters and informational brochures were sent to respondents to inform them of the upcoming survey and mentioning the importance of participating. Where possible, respondents in Nunavut received hand delivered invitation letters and brochures, the latter provided in English, French, Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun. Each letter included a link to the CSD web page, as well a toll-free number to call if they had questions (and a TTY number for the hearing impaired). The brochures described the survey, the importance of participation and topics covered.

Over the six-month collection period, up to six reminder letters and two reminder e-mails were sent to respondents who had not yet submitted their questionnaire. Approximately 64% of respondents completed their survey using rEQ with the remainder completing the survey using iEQ.

Data was obtained directly from the selected respondents, but proxy interviews were allowed under some conditions.

The EQ was available in English and French. Interviews lasted 40 minutes on average. To reduce interview time, Statistics Canada has combined information from the CSD to selected data from the 2021 Census of Population. It is possible that data from other surveys or administrative data sources may be added at a later date.

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s) .

Error detection

All responses to the 2022 CSD questions were captured directly in the EQ application, both for the interviewer-led (iEQ) component and the respondent self-reporting (rEQ) component. The EQ application, just like any other computerized questionnaire, reduces processing time and costs associated with data entry, transcription errors and data transmission.

For some CSD questions, data underwent a preliminary verification process when respondents were completing the survey. This was accomplished by means of a series of edits programmed into the EQ. That is, where a particular response appeared to be inconsistent with previous answers or outside of expected values, the interviewer or the self-reporting respondent was notified with an on-screen warning message, providing them with an opportunity to modify the response provided.

Once survey responses were transmitted to head office, more extensive data processing for the CSD began. This involved a series of steps to convert the questionnaire responses from their initial raw format to a high-quality, user-friendly database involving a comprehensive set of variables for analysis.

A series of data operations were executed to clean files of inadvertent errors, remove duplicate records, edit the data for consistency, code open-ended questions, create useful variables for data analysis, and finally to systematize and document the variables for ease of analytical usage.


For the CSD, discrepancies, logical inconsistencies and missing information were resolved wherever possible either automatically using customized deterministic editing rules or through manual interventions.


In a sample survey, each respondent represents not only themselves but also other people who have not been sampled. For that reason, each respondent is assigned a weight which indicates the number of people that they represent in the population. To maintain data coherence and ensure that the results accurately represent the target population and not just the individuals sampled, that weight must be used to compute all estimates.

There are several steps in calculating the weights for the CSD. The first step is to assign each selected unit an initial weight based on the sample design. The initial weight is the inverse of the probability of inclusion. For the CSD, the initial weight is the product of two factors: the census long-form questionnaire weight and the CSD subsampling weight (the inverse of the inclusion probability). Then a number of adjustments are made to the weights to control for exclusions during collection, for non-response and to avoid extreme weights in the estimation domains. The final step is to calibrate the survey weights on the census estimated totals and make certain adjustments to account for units that were in scope during the May 2021 selection process but out of scope at the time of the survey in 2022.

Weights were also computed for the persons selected for the NO sample added to the analytical file to allow comparison of disability rates. The initial weight for the NO sample was the product of the census long-form final weight and the inverse of the CSD sampling fraction of the NO sample. A calibration of these weights was done first on the census estimated totals, followed by an adjustment to account for the estimated number of units who became out of scope between Census Day and time of CSD collection.

To compute estimates of the sampling error for statistics produced from the CSD, bootstrap weights are used. For the CSD, 1,000 sets of bootstrap weights were generated using the general bootstrap method for two-phase sampling and by applying the same weight adjustments to the bootstrap weights as to the sample weights.

Quality evaluation

Quality assurance measures were implemented at every collection and processing step. Measures included recruitment of qualified interviewers, training provided to interviewers for specific survey concepts and procedures, procedures to ensure that coding errors were minimized, and edit quality checks to verify the processing logic. Data were verified to ensure internal consistency and were also compared to other sources when available.

2022 CSD and 2017 CSD:
The 2022 CSD was designed to be as comparable as possible to the 2017 cycle. In terms of prevalence of disability, the two cycles are comparable as the same methodology was used. More precisely, the ADL question on the census, used to create the CSD frame, and the DSQ questions on the CSD, used to identify persons with disabilities, were the same for the two cycles, enabling comparisons in rates of disability overall and by disability type and severity. It should be noted that the 2022 and 2017 disability rates are not comparable to those of the 2012 CSD because the ADL question on the 2011 Census of Population were different. The 2011 ADL questions were not performing as well at filtering in persons with a disability, especially the less visible types of disabilities (such as learning, memory, mental health-related and developmental disabilities), which had a direct impact on the prevalence of disability calculated from the survey afterwards.

2022 CSD and disability data from other surveys:
Several other surveys use the DSQ to identify persons with disabilities (PWD) to allow comparisons of survey characteristics between PWD and persons without disabilities (PWoD).

Given that each survey has its own target population, reference period, collection mode, content and question order, non-response pattern and rate, and survey methodology, estimates regarding the prevalence of disability and/or estimates of the number of PWD based on the questions from the disability module used in these surveys should not be published. Instead, this DSQ module only serves to produce estimates of proportions among PWD showing particular characteristics to compare with the proportions among PWoD.

However, one exception is made for another post-censal survey: the Indigenous Peoples Survey (IPS). The IPS specifically targets First Nations people living off-reserve, Métis and Inuit in Canada. For the first time in 2017 and again in 2022, the IPS used the DSQ to identify persons with a disability. Since the IPS has a much larger sample of Indigenous persons than the CSD, and is considered more representative of the Indigenous population, the IPS is to be used as the official source of disability rates for Indigenous persons.

To ensure that the IPS rates are comparable to those of the CSD, the CSD methodology was applied to the IPS: anyone in the IPS sample who did not report having a difficulty or long-term condition on the ADL question on the 2021 Census of Population was considered not to have a disability, regardless of their answers to the DSQ on the IPS. For more information on the CSD methodology, refer to the Canadian Survey on Disability, 2022: Concepts and Methods Guide.

In summary, the official source for disability-specific data in Canada, such as prevalence and counts, is the CSD. However, for disability counts and prevalence with regards to Indigenous persons, the IPS is the official source.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects that could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

In order to prevent any data disclosure, confidentiality analysis is done using the Statistics Canada Generalized Disclosure Control System (G-Confid). G-Confid is used for primary suppression (direct disclosure) as well as for secondary suppression (residual disclosure). Direct disclosure occurs when the value in a tabulation cell is composed of or dominated by few enterprises while residual disclosure occurs when confidential information can be derived indirectly by piecing together information from different sources or data series.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Data accuracy

Two types of errors occur in surveys: sampling errors and non-sampling errors.

The sampling error for the CSD is reported through 95% confidence intervals. The 95% confidence interval of an estimate can be interpreted as the following: if the survey were repeated over and over again, then 95% of the time (or 19 times out of 20), the confidence interval would cover the true population value.

Non-sampling errors arise primarily from the following sources: non-response, coverage, measurement and processing. Total non-response can introduce a bias if non-respondents have different characteristics from respondents. Non-response adjustments helped reduce this risk of bias for the CSD. Non-response to specific questions is often due to difficulty understanding the questions. Thorough quality reviews and questionnaire testing were carried out before the survey, which reduced the extent of partial non-response.

Collection for the CSD ended with an overall response rate of 61.1%. This response rate is the number of complete respondents divided by the number of cases sent to collection minus the out-of-scope cases (cases which did not meet eligibility criteria for the survey). Hence, this rate reflects the percentage of cases that completed the interview relative to the number of cases that should have completed it.

Response rates for the provinces ranged from 58.0% for Newfoundland and Labrador to 67.9% in Quebec. In the territories, the response rates ranged from 47.3% in Nunavut to 56.2% in the Yukon. By age group, the response rates ranged from 52.3% for those aged 15 to 24 years old, to 69.9% for those aged 65 to 74 years old.

Coverage errors occur when there are differences between the target population and the sampled population (or survey population). In particular, undercoverage can be problematic. Since the CSD sample is selected from the census, census non-respondents could not be sampled for the CSD. With the very high response rate of the 2021 Census of Population long-form questionnaire (97.4%), the scope of this problem is minimal.

Measurement errors occur when the response provided differs from the real value. Such errors may be attributable to the respondent, the interviewer, the questionnaire or the collection method, for example. Every effort was made to develop questions that would be understandable, relevant and appropriate for respondents through extensive content development activities and qualitative testing. Other measures were also taken, including the use of skilled interviewers and extensive training of interviewers.

Processing errors may occur at various stages, including data capture, coding and editing. Quality control procedures were applied at every stage of data processing to minimize these types of errors.


  • Canadian Survey on Disability, 2022: Concepts and Methods Guide
    The Canadian Survey on Disability Concepts and Methods Guide is designed to assist data users by providing relevant information on survey content and concepts, sampling design, collection methods, data processing, data quality and product availability.

    Last review : November 28, 2023.
Date modified: