Is obesity considered a disability?

A look at cases in B.C., Ontario shows challenges of definitions, accommodations
By Casey Dockendorff
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/01/2015

In 2013, 18.8 per cent of Canadians aged 18 and older — roughly 4.9 million adults — reported height and weight that classified them as obese, according to Statistics Canada. Therefore, the issue of whether obesity is a disability is an important one.


Some jurisdictions in Canada have expressly recognized obesity as a disability, whereas others have not. These distinctions are based largely on the applicable human rights legislation in each jurisdiction and, in particular, how “disability” is defined.