What is a disability?

In Canada, the word “disability” means many different types of physical, mental or intellectual conditions. For example:

  • Mobility impairments – These affect your ability to move or the types of movements you can make (for example, cerebral palsy).
  • Vision impairments – These affect your ability to see. They range from low vision to blindness.
  • Hearing impairments – These affect your ability to hear. They range from low hearing to deafness.
  • Learning disabilities – Neurological dysfunctions that make it difficult for the brain to process information in a normal manner (for example, dyslexia, autism spectrum disorder).
  • Intellectual disabilities – A person has difficulties learning, understanding or remembering (for example, Down syndrome).
  • Mental health (psychiatric) disabilities – Many conditions fall under this category, including bipolar disorder (“manic depression”) and schizophrenia. These conditions are often treated with medication and/or therapy.

Some people have more than one disability. This is sometimes called “dual diagnosis.”

Your Rights

According to the Ontario Human Rights Code, it is against the law for anyone to discriminate against you because of your disability. If you believe that someone has discriminated against you, you can contact the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal and file a complaint.

For More Information

  • Disability and the Duty to Accommodate – Information about how the Ontario Human Rights Code protects people with disabilities. from the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
  • Programs, Services and Supports – This page has links to information about the Ontario government’s financial, employment, residential and family support programs. The website is from the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

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