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Disabilities in Manitoba

Nearly 175,000 people in Manitoba have a disability. That’s almost one in six people. Over the next 20 years as people grow older, the number will rise to one in five Manitobans.

When thinking about disabilities, many people think only of the physical ones, but there are many different kinds. Disabilities can be visible, hidden, and permanent or occur only at certain times.

Types of disabilities include but are not limited to:

  • vision
  • hearing
  • physical
  • intellectual
  • developmental
  • learning
  • mental health
  • speech or language
  • deaf-blind
  • chronic pain

Disabilities also vary. Being hard of hearing is different from being Deaf. Having low vision is different from being legally blind.

Manitobans with disabilities reflect the diversity of the population as a whole in terms of age, gender, race, religion, ethno-cultural communities and political perspective. Although widespread, disabilities are a particularly important issue for both First Nations and Metis communities – their members are at least twice as likely as Non-Aboriginal people to have a disability.

A disability can happen to anyone at any time. Some people are born with a disability. For others, the disability happens because of an illness or an accident. Sometimes it’s because the person is getting older. In fact as the population ages, most of us will eventually face some kind of disability, even though we might not use that term to describe it. Similarly, many persons who develop a chronic disease such as diabetes face limitations. These, too, are disabilities though some might only think of them as health problems. Despite the fact that there are so many people with disabilities, they tend to be among the most marginalized and disadvantaged citizens.