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Did You Know...

Individuals with hearing impairments often use some combination of lip-reading, sign language, and amplification to understand spoken information. People who are deaf from birth generally have more difficulty speaking and understanding the structure of language than those who lost their hearing later in life. In a job setting, everyday noises -- fans and lights -- that are not a bother to hearing people, may have a profound effect on the ability of people with hearing impairments.

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Definition of Disability

There are many types of disabilities and many persons throughout our communities that face these challenges in their daily life. The following information is intended to clarify some of the terms and assistive options available.

Below you will find Statistics Canada’s definitions of disability. These definitions were taken from A Profile of Disability in Canada, 2001, as published by Statistics Canada.


  • Hearing–Difficulty hearing what is being said in a conversation with one other person, in a conversation with three or more persons or in a telephone conversation
  • Seeing–Difficulty seeing ordinary newsprint or clearly seeing the face of someone from 4 metres (12 feet)
  • Speech–Difficulty speaking and/or being understood
  • Mobility–Difficulty walking up to half a kilometre or up and down a flight of stairs, about 12 steps without resting, moving from one room to another, carrying an object of 5 kilograms (10 pounds) for 10 metres (30 feet) or standing for long periods
  • Agility–Difficulty bending, dressing or undressing oneself, getting into and out of bed, cutting own toenails, using fingers to grasp or handle objects, reaching in any direction (for example, above one’s head) or cutting own food
  • Pain–Limited in the amount or kind of activities that one can do because of a long-term pain that is constant or reoccurs from time to time, for example, recurrent back pain


  • Cognitive limitations due to the presence of a developmental disability or disorder, such as Down syndrome, autism or mental impairment caused by a lack of oxygen at birth


  • Limited in the amount or kind of activities that one can do due to the presence of an emotional, psychological or psychiatric condition, such as phobias, depression, schizophrenia, drinking or drug problems


  • Limited in the amount or kind of activities that one can do due to frequent periods of confusion or difficulty remembering things. These difficulties may be associated with Alzheimer’s disease, brain injuries or other similar conditions


  • Difficulty learning because of a condition, such as attention problems, hyperactivity or dyslexia, whether or not the condition was diagnosed by a teacher, doctor or other health professional