A profile of Canadian farmers with disabilities

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Albagmi, Faisal
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ABSTRACT Background: Agriculture is identified as being one of the most hazardous industries in Canada. The different types of injuries that Canadian farmers experience have been addressed by other academic researchers. However, Canada does not have any national database that captures the overall prevalence of disability among farmers, regardless of the cause of their disability. Henceforth, this study provides a profile of Canadian farmers with disabilities in 2001 and in 2006. Purpose: The overall purpose of this study was to determine and compare the prevalence of disability among the adult Canadian farming population in two time periods, 2001 and 2006. Specific, objectives were to analyze the differences in age, gender, type of disability, severity of disability, and accessibility to health and social services among farmers with disabilities. Methods: This cross-sectional secondary data analysis focused on the prevalence of disability within the Canadian farming population. Adult data were retrieved from two Statistics Canada national surveys known as the Participation and Activity Limitations Survey (PALS) 2001 and PALS 2006. Microdata from the PALS 2001 and PALS 2006 were accessed through the Research Data Centre at the University of Manitoba. Results: Approximately 10% of Canadian farmers self-reported one or more activity limitation in 2001 and this figure increased to 20.3% in 2006. On the provincial level, the greatest proportion of farmers living with disabilities is situated in Ontario (27.92% in 2001; 27.04% in 2006), Alberta (17.14% in 2001; 26.12% in 2006), Manitoba (7.9% in 2001; 10.43% in 2006), and Quebec (7.52% in 2001; 10.16% in 2006). This study also reveals the prevalence of disability in both 2001 and 2006. The prevalence of disability is greatest among the senior farmers, i.e., those 65 years of age or older. Of all the Canadian farmers aged 65 and older, 28.1% reported experiencing a disability in 2001 and this prevalence increased to 47.2% in 2006. Of all reported disabilities in the Canadian farming community, physical disabilities accounted for 78.08% in 2001 and 59.04% in 2006. “Mild degree of severity” was the leading degree of severity in 2001 (56.98%) and 2006 (39.09%). Conclusion: One of the most significant findings suggests that there has been a significant increase in disability among Canadian farmers over five years’ time, especially among those over 65 years of age or older. The results from this study raise awareness of specific issues such as aging among Canadian farmers with disability, increasing prevalence of disability, and accessibility to health care and social services. This study concludes that future research should be directed toward the impact of disabilities in the agricultural community to guide health professionals and policy makers in designing cost-effective programs suited to Canadian farmers with disabilities.
Medical Rehabilitation, Epidemiology