Quick facts

Recognize the business potential of including people with disabilities as customers, investors and employees. The size of disability population and their buying power is likely much larger than you think!

Facts and numbers: Understanding the potential

Here are 10 things you may not know about disability in the market and your workplace.

  1. Approximately 6,200,000 Canadians have a disability, that’s almost 1 in every 5 Canadians 1.
  2. $55.4 billion CDN is the estimated buying power of Canadians with disability 1. This number grows to $366.5 billion CDN when you add in friends and family 1.
  3. The prevalence of disability increases steadily with age. 1 in 3 Canadian seniors have a disability2.
  4. Seniors are Canada’s fastest-growing age group. They are expected to make up 25% of our population by 2036 3.
  5. Globally, there are approximately 1.3 billion people with disabilities 1. Their buying power is estimated to be greater than $1.2 trillion USD, or $8.1 trillion USD when friends and family are included 1.
  6. Many disabilities are invisible, in fact only 8% use a wheelchair or scooter 4.
  7. There are close to half a million job-ready Canadians with disabilities, almost half of them with post-secondary education 2.
  8. Many Canadians say they face challenges but don’t self-identify as having a disability.
  9. Designing with disability in-mind often makes it easier for all. Ramps also benefit baby-stroller pushing parents or cart-pulling delivery workers for example.
  10. Designing with disability in-mind can be an opportunity to innovate for all. Captioning is a great example.

Missed opportunity: The big picture

Missed opportunity infographic
Note that source references 1, 2, 3, 4 in the infographic are equivalent to source information 5 6 7 8 list below.

Close to 1 in 5 Canadians with disabilities represent one of the most significant market segments in the country 5.

The global population of people with disabilities and their friends and family is 3.6 billion. Together, they control over $8 trillion in annual disposable income 5.

The buying power of the Canadian disability community is estimated to be $55.4 billion annually 5. The aging Boomer population is adding to that number daily!

Canadians are among the biggest online users in the world. 6 71% of customers with accessibility needs will click away from websites they find difficult to use 7. That 71% has an estimated spending power of 10% of total online spend 7.

Support for inclusion and accessibility extends beyond the disability market:

  • 87% of consumers are more likely to support a business that includes people with disabilities in its marketing mix 8.
  • 92% of consumers are more likely to support a business that is both physically and digitally accessible 8.


  1. Donovan, R. (2016) Return on Disability: Translate Different Into Value, 2016 Annual Report: The Global Economics of Disability     
  2. Statistics Canada. (2016) Canadian Survey on Disability 2012  
  3. Statistics Canada. Population Projections for Canada, Provinces and Territories 
  4. Matthew W. Brault. (2012) Americans With Disabilities: 2010 
  5. (infographic source 1) The Return on Disability group www.rod-group.com/Insights: Fifth Quadrant Analytics    
  6. (infographic source 2) “Canadians are the world’s biggest internet users” (2015) http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/03/27/internet-use- by-canadians_n_6958156.html  
  7. (infographic source 3) Click-Away Pound Survey 2016—Final report http://www.clickawaypound.com/cap16finalreport.html   
  8. (infographic source 4) Gary N. Siperstein, Neil Romano, Amanda Mohler, “A National Survey of Consumer Attitudes Towards Companies That Hire People with Disabilities.” Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 2006, 24. Other material sourced from: Patricia Digh, America’s Largest Untapped Market: Who They Are, The Potential They Represent. Fortune Magazine, March 2, 1998.