Measuring Integration of Disabled Persons: Evidence from Canada’s Time Use Databases

Clarke Wilson, Mary Ann McColl, Fang Zhang, Paige McKinnon


Disability is defined in terms of activity limitation. We propose using daily time use data as a macro indicator of the degree of integration of people with disabilities into the wider society. If activity patterns of disabled persons are becoming more similar to those of the general population, this indicates a reduction in activity limitation and suggests opportunity and social integration are increasing. Decreasing similarity of activity patterns would indicate a failure of policies promoting integration. Data on daily activities were drawn from Statistics Canada General Social Survey files for the cycles focusing on time use for 1992 and 2010. Canada-wide there has been a convergence of the activities of disabled and non-disabled persons of about 13 percent over the period examined. Convergence has been slightly greater for disabled women than men. The major source of convergence for disabled women has been a very large increase in paid work time as compared with disabled men. Our results are consistent with the proposition that public policy on disability is succeeding, but the attribution of activity convergence to policy and program interventions would require a great deal of additional research. 


Integration; Daily activity; Time use; Policy evaluation; Program effectiveness

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