Using the HALS/PALS data sets to estimate a loss of income

In the article Derek Aldridge discusses the potential usefulness of Statistics Canada’s HALS/PALS disability statistics when attempting to estimate a person’s loss of income. His opinion is that while one can use these data sets to predict a loss of income, in most cases these predictions are not helpful for our purposes.


The Impact of Disability on Earnings: Reliable Data

From his analysis in his previous article, Dr. Bruce concluded that, to be reliable, evidence must be based on data sets that meet two criteria: First, the number of observations must be large enough that one can be certain that a representative sample has been drawn. And, second, the data set must include individuals drawn from all of the comparison groups that are of interest.

In this article Dr. Bruce uses these two criteria to identify a set of research reports that he considers to be reliable; and he summarises the findings of these reports with respect to the impact that each of spinal cord injuries, chronic pain, visual and hearing disabilities, and brain damage have on both education and earnings.


The Reliability of Statistical Evidence Concerning the Impact of Disability

In the article Christopher Bruce provides a caution concerning the acceptance of statistical evidence about disability. Dr. Bruce argues that the courts and opposing counsel do not subject certain types of medical opinion to sufficiently strict statistical standards. Specifically, he shows that evidence based on: (i) the expert’s “experience,” (ii) the expert’s interpretation of third party statistics, or (iii) the expert’s understanding of published statistical reports may be unreliable. In this article, he provides examples of how statistical evidence may fail to meet the standards expected by the courts; and he offers suggestions about how counsel might respond to these deficiencies.


The Impact of Disability on Earnings: Results of the Health and Activity Limitation Survey

This article presents some information from Statistics Canada’s Health and Activity Limitation Survey (HALS). Although HALS was one of the most comprehensive surveys ever conducted on the effects of disability, Statistics Canada has chosen to publish results from that survey in a form that is not of great value to litigators. Accordingly, HALS has become one of those sources that is referred to far more often than it is employed.

Economica has obtained access to Statistics Canada’s electronic records of over 100,000 individual questionnaires from HALS. This has allowed us to estimate income and education levels for each of four levels of disability, for both males and females, cross-categorised by four levels of education and four age groups. In their article, Christopher Bruce, Derek Aldridge, and Kris Aksomitis report the statistics derived from this process. Although the statistics reported there are too aggregated to allow practitioners to estimate damages in specific cases, they can act as a check to see whether the damages calculated in any particular case are “reasonable.”