Concept: Disability - Data Sources for Measuring Prevalence

Concept Description

Last Updated: 2021-04-07


Survey Data from Statistics Canada

1. Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS)

2. Canadian Survey on Disability (CSD)

Data Sources from the Manitoba Population Research Data Repository

A. Children and Adults with Disabilities

1. Hospital Discharge Abstracts and Medical Services Databases

    International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes may be used in hospital discharge abstract and medical services/physician claims data to identify individuals with disabilities. ICD codes may vary depending on the types of disability being studied and the purpose of the study. The ICD-10- codes listed in Chapter V (Mental and Behaviour Disorders) and Chapter XXI (Factors Influencing Health Status and Contact with Health Services), among other chapters, may contain ICD codes relevant to disabilities. Please see the WHO - ICD-10 Version 2007 for a list of all ICD-10 codes.

    The following table lists possible ICD codes that may identify the existence of a disability:

    ICD-10 (ICD-9-CM) Code Title
    F34 Persistent mood [affective] disorders
    F43.2 Adjustment disorders
    F68.0 Elaboration of physical symptoms for psychological reasons
    F80 (315) Specific developmental disorders of speech and language
    F81.1 Specific spelling disorders
    F81.9 Developmental disorder of scholastic skills, unspecified
    H53 (368ish) Visual disturbances
    H54 (369) Blindness and low vision
    Q16 (744) Congenital malformations of ear causing impairment of hearing
    R26 (7812, 71970) Abnormalities of gait and mobility
    R47 (7845ish) Speech disturbances, not elsewhere classified
    R48 (7846) Dyslexia and other symbolic dysfunctions, not elsewhere classified
    R49 (78449) Voice disturbances
    Y85-Y89 Sequelae of external causes of morbidity and mortality
    Y89.1 Sequelae of war operations
    Y89.9 Sequelae of unspecified external cause
    Z45.3 (V532) Adjustment and management of implanted hearing device
    Z46.1 (V532) Fitting and adjustment of hearing aid
    Z50.5 (V573) Speech therapy
    Z73.6 Limitation of activities due to disability
    Z74.0 (V608) Reduced mobility
    Z82.8 Family history of other disabilities and chronic diseases leading to disablement, not elsewhere classified
    Z96.2 (V4389ish) Presence of otological and audiological implants
    Z97.4 (V498ish) Presence of external hearing-aid

    Reference: World Health Organization; email from Charles Burchill, July 25, 2008


    • The ICD-9-CM codes listed in the table above that end with "ish" should be checked as some are not a clear match.
    • Over time, the majority of ICD-9-CM codes captured in the Medical Services / Physician Claims data are only 3-digits. In December 2018, a 5-digit diagnosis code variable was added to the Medical Services data. If recorded, the first 3-digits of both the 3-digit and 5-digit diagnosis code variables will match exactly. The 5-digit diagnosis code variable applies to records from 2015/16 forward.
    • This is only a sample of possible ICD-10 codes related to disabilities - a more comprehensive review of all ICD codes is needed prior to the use of hospital and physician data to identify children and adults with disabilities. Please confirm with clinician or actual coder.
    • The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) is another system used to classify disability in individuals. The WHO provides an ICF Browser which gives more information on these codes.

2. Children's disABILITY Services (CDS) / Community Living disABILITY Services (CLDS) Data

    The CDS / CLDS data provides information on the services and supports provided by the Department of Families for children and adults with disabilities. This data source contains information about the type(s) of disabilities for each of the participants.

    In the CDS, eligible children under the age of 18 must have a medical diagnosis confirming one or more of the following conditions: intellectual disability, developmental delay, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a life-long physical disability, or a high probability of developmental delay. The available services and supports include: respite; therapy (OT, PT, speech and language, and audiology); child development services for preschool children; autism services (outreach and applied behavioral analysis); behavioral services; summer skills programming; after-school care for adolescents; supplies, equipment, and home/vehicle modifications; transportation to related services; and other resources ( Manitoba Families - Children's disABILITY Services website - April 2021 ).

    In the CLDS, eligible Manitoba adults (18 years and older) must have significantly impaired intellectual functioning with impaired adaptive behaviour. CLDS offers a wide range of services and supports, including: supports to people living at home with family (e.g. respite, in-home services, support to families, outreach, and school in-service and summer programming); day services (help with employment placement, job training, or other day services); residential services (living at home with family, supported independent living, home share, or shift-staffed homes (group homes)); clinical services (assessment and therapy); and crisis intervention (counselling and other supports). CLDS is a voluntary program and some eligible people choose not to receive services from the program. ( Manitoba Families - Community Living disABILITY Services website - April 2021 ).

B. Children with Disabilities

1. Education - Enrollment, Marks, and Assessments

    The education data contains two variables, CATEGORYN and STATUSN , specifying students with special needs who receive Special Needs Categorical Funding (Levels II and III) from Manitoba Education.

    CATEGORYN indicates the type of special need for each student through the following responses:

    • EBD = Emotional Behaviour Disorder
    • HOH = Hard Of Hearing
    • MH = Multiple Handicaps
    • OTH = Other Special Needs
    • PSY = Psychotic
    • VI = Visually Impaired

    Students with any of the above responses may be considered to have a disability.

    STATUSN indicates whether the Special Needs Categorical Funding has been approved, denied, federally funded or terminated for each student.

    Brownell et al. (2008) determined the prevalence of children with disabilities by using these variables to measure the prevalence of children (aged 6 to 17 years) receiving Special Needs Level II or III funding. Children with disabilities were defined as "children whose daily activities or normal functioning are restricted because of a condition or health problem...These are children with at least one diagnosis of a sensory or mental handicap or an emotional or behavioural disorder" (Brownell et al., 2008, p.310).

    The Intellectual Disability (Mental Retardation)/Developmental Disability concept has more information regarding how MCHP has defined these disabilities in previous research using the education data.

2. Child and Family Services Information System (CFSIS) - Children in Care

    Child and Family Services Application (CFSA) tables contain variables that may indicate the existence of a disability in an individual under care of Child and Family Services. The following are select variables that may assist in measuring disabilities in children.

    • LearningDisability variable indicates disabilities such as:

      • dyslexia
      • reading difficulties
      • speech language
      • ADD/ADHD
      • learning disability (diagnosed), and
      • learning disability (suspected)

        NOTE: This variable is found in table 12 and has the SAS format: $cfsa12learndisab.

    • IsPersonDisabled variable indicates the existence of any disability

      • Y/N responses

        NOTE: This variables is found in table 17 and has the SAS format: Boolean.

    • PhysicalDisability variable indicates the existence of the following physical disabilities:

      • cerebral palsy
      • cleft palate
      • club foot
      • general
      • hypotonia
      • motor delay, or
      • scoliosis

        NOTE: This variable is found in table 21 and has the SAS format: $cfsa21physdisab.

    CFSA tables a20-a33 also contain information on sensory perception, developmental delay, cognitive intellectual, diagnosed/suspected mental health, the origin or cause of disability, etcetera. However, it should be noted that the data from these tables may not be complete as they have not been consistently filled out by social workers (Personal Communication by email with Marni Brownell of MCHP, July 6, 2011).

    In order to identify an individual case within these tables, a link must be established between CFSA tables.

3. Manitoba Family Services and Consumer Affairs - Child Day Care

    The Child Day Care Program Database contains one limited disability indicator: DISABLD_SW, that indicates the existence of a disability:

    • Y/N (1/0) responses

      NOTE: Approximately 96% of children in this database will have a value of "0" for this variable, therefore, it may not be especially useful alone to identify children with disabilities.

4. Manitoba Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Data

    The Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Data (formerly known as Clinic for Alcohol and Drug Exposed Children (CADEC)) contains information on children with known prenatal alcohol exposure. It may contain information on children who have disabilities concurrently with FASD. There are several variables which may indicate the existence of disabilities. The following are select variables from the Manitoba FASD Data Dictionary that might be useful when investigating children with disabilities:

    • Behavioural or occupational therapy concerns:

      • BEH_x

        • BEH_ATTENT = attention problems
        • BEH_Autistic_Behavior = autistic behaviour
        • BEH_FEED = feeding disorders
        • BEH_HYPER = over-activity

    • Communication concerns:

      • COM_x

        • COM_Hearing = hearing disorders
        • COM_Speech = speech disorders
        • COM_other = other communication disorders

    Please see Manitoba Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Data glossary term or the Manitoba Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Data Dictionary for more information.

C. Adults with Disabilities

1. Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) Data

    There are multiple variables in the EIA data indicating mental, physical and other disabilities. These disability flags are associated with an individual's eligibility for employment and income assistance (EIA), and include the following:

    • DisabltyMHInd = mental health disability indicator;
    • DisabltyMRInd = mental retardation indicator;
    • DisabltyOthInd = other disability indicator;
    • DisabltyPDCd = physical disability code with the following values:

      • HE = HEARING
      • IL = ILLNESS
      • OT = OTHER
      • SP = SPEECH
      • VI = VISION

      NOTE: If an individual is receiving income from the Canada Pension Plan (CCP) or Worker's Compensation, they would not receive EIA and therefore would not appear in this database.

2. Manitoba Housing

    The Manitoba Shelter Benefit (for Persons with a Disability) Program provides momentary assistance for individuals who rent their living area privately. To be eligible, the individuals must:

    • have a physical, mental or psychiatric disability;
    • be less than 55 years of age;
    • make less than $21,168 per annum; and
    • must spend at least 25% of household income on rent. (Manitoba Family Services and Consumer Affairs)

    Individuals who rent from other housing benefit programs or the Manitoba Housing Authority and those that live on a First Nations reserve are not eligible.

    Disability is defined by the Manitoba Shelter Benefit program as "a physical, mental, or psychiatric condition that (a) is expected to last one year or more, and is continuous or is cyclical and is likely to recur; and (b) substantially restricts or interferes with a person's ability to (i) attend to his or her personal care, or (ii) function in the home, community or workplace" (Personal Communication by email with Cristina Cabral of the Manitoba Government, June 27, 2011).

    The Manitoba Shelter Benefit Program information is available to data analysts at MCHP from Manitoba Family Services and Consumer Affairs.

3. Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS)

    It is predicted that the definition of disability in the CCHS is very similar to that in the PALS. Weights must be used if this data is to be compared with other resources because it is not a population-wide resource. It does not include individuals living on First Nation reserves and therefore may not be representative of Manitoba. For projects conducted on behalf of Manitoba Health, the CCHS can be linked at the individual level and could be used to identify individuals with a disability.

    Cycle 1.2 of the CCHS contains information on mental health in Canada and examines disabilities related to mental health (Statistics Canada, 2011).

    Please see the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) , the CCHS Data Dictionary ( internal access only ) or a description of the CCHS provided by Statistics Canada for more information.

4. Minimum Data Set (MDS) - Home Care & Long Term Care Databases

Importance of Record Linkage

Limitations / Cautions

Related concepts 

Related terms