Canadian Survey on Disability, 2012
A New Survey Measure of Disability: the Disability Screening Questions (DSQ)

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by Chantal Grondin

Social Survey Methods Division,
Statistics Canada

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Release date: February 29, 2016 Correction date: (if required)

Executive Summary

This report describes the creation of the new Disability Screening Questions (DSQ), which were jointly developed by Statistics Canada (Social and Aboriginal Statistics Division and Social Survey Methods Division), Employment and Social Development Canada, and a Technical Advisory Group made up of experts in the field. The DSQ provide a measure based on the social model of disability which takes into account activity limitations to identify a disability. The intention is to include the DSQ in general population surveys to allow comparisons of people with and without a disability.

Development took place over two years, during which several rounds of qualitative testing were conducted to ensure the validity of each question. This was followed by two major quantitative tests, one with the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and the other with the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), to assess the reliability of the DSQ on surveys with very different contexts. Based on the results of these tests, the DSQ were used on the Canadian Survey on Disability (CSD).

Disability rates by type obtained from the two quantitative tests were very close and are shown in this report. Disability rates from the 2006 Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS) are also presented, mainly to show the impact of taking into account activity limitation to identify disability with the DSQ, which differs from what was done before. Disability rates from the 2012 CSD are also shown, and differences with the LFS estimates are analyzed and explained.

Because the average time required to administer the DSQ might be a serious obstacle to including it on most general population surveys, a shorter version of the DSQ was created and tested?a version that is very similar to the long one, but which provides less detail. This report describes the differences between the long and short versions, and what each version provides. The short version has been used in two general population surveys: cycle 28 of the General Social Survey (GSS) on victimization, and the 2013 Canadian Income Survey (CIS).   

The DSQ are based on the social model of disability. This measure is useful in developing programs to help improve social participation for persons with a disability. Inclusion of the DSQ on general population surveys, as well as on the Canadian Survey on Disability, will facilitate analyses, and will shed light on the situation faced by persons with a disability, and more importantly, on those whose daily activities are limited.

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