In the news

From the initial outbreak of the pandemic in Canada, March 2020, we have been following news around the world about the impact of COVID-10 on the health and well-being of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their caregivers. News stories cover emerging issues like the impact of preventive public health measures, the need for special accommodations in hospitals, disease outcomes and health care prioritizationCheck back monthly for a selection of the latest news.

The Developmental Disabilities Primary Care Program is connected to a wide network of health care providers (physicians, nurses, psychiatrists) and scientists with expertise in the medical care of people with IDD. For media inquiries, contact the Surrey Place Communications, Marketing and Media Relations Office. 

Year: 2021


Advocacy groups are growing a stronger voice and share their concerns about vaccine prioritization and accessibility for people with developmental disabilities across Canada. Some file human rights complaints over discrimination of people with developmental disabilities during the pandemic.


As vaccine roll-out planning is presented, families and self-advocates in Canada continue to call for prioritization of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Grassroots advocacy campaigns and petitions are being launched.


There is growing evidence of higher death rates and more severe disease outcomes of COVID-19 in people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Advocates call for vaccine prioritization. 

Year: 2020


Caregiver burn-out is increasing and concerns arise about a second COVID wave and its impact.


Research finds that people with learning disabilities are six times more likely to die from coronavirus than the general population. The pandemic highlights already existing health and health care disparities for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.


New research demonstrates the increased COVID-19 risks and disease outcomes for those with Down Syndrome.  


Prolonged periods of isolation and changes in daily routines have severely disrupted the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, affecting their mental health and behaviours.


Continued advocacy for exemption of special public health rules and for special accommodations for those who cannot adhere to the measures.


Months of physical distancing rules is taking its toll, especially on those who are non-verbal and rely on close contact with their caregivers. The “new normal” starts to seriously affect mental health and behaviours of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caregivers.



In March 2020, a state of emergency was announced for Canada. The first lockdown includes visitation bans preventing essential caregivers from seeing their loved ones living in congregate settings. Discussions arise about triage protocols in hospitals.