New OHRC report takes fresh look at experiences of people with mental health and addictions disabilities

Toronto–The Ontario Human Rights Commission today launched By the numbers, a new report offering a statistical profile of people with mental health and addiction disabilities in Ontario. This launch was part of Taking it Local Peel, a one-day training event co-hosted by the United Way of Peel Region and the Regional Diversity Roundtable of Peel.

In its 2009-2011 consultation on mental health disabilities and addictions, the OHRC heard extensively from individuals, advocates, organizations and families about the many barriers people with mental health and addiction disabilities face. However, there were limited Ontario statistical data available to support what the OHRC was hearing.

By the numbers was created to help fill this gap. Using customized Statistics Canada data from the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability, the report looks at the prevalence and severity of mental health and addiction disabilities, and how people with these disabilities fare on indicators such as housing, education, employment, workplace discrimination and income.

“By the numbers is a tool that can help set the stage for increased understanding of what it means to have a mental health or addiction disability in Ontario today,” said Interim Chief Commissioner Ruth Goba. “It offers a fresh, much-needed look at an issue that affects all Ontarians.”

Report highlights:

  • Of all Ontarians who report a disability, almost one-third (30.9%) report a mental health or addiction disability.
  • The unemployment rate of Ontarians aged 15-64 with mental health or addiction disabilities in 2011 (22.6%) was more than twice as high as Ontarians with other disabilities (9%) and almost three times higher than Ontarians without disabilities (7.7%).
  • Many people with disabilities report they have been discriminated against in employment,regardless of disability type.
  • Almost 7 in 10 people with mental health and addiction disabilities report beingdisadvantaged at work due to their condition.
  • Adding the numbers to the stories can raise awareness by helping to develop a common understanding of the significant social and economic disparities faced by Ontarians with mental health disabilities, addictions and other disabilities. By the numbers can be used as a tool to promote change to eliminate these disparities.

For more information
Afroze Edwards
Senior Communications Officer
Ontario Human Rights Commission


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