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Productivity Losses Because of Morbidity Attributable to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in Canada: A Demographic Approach

Brian Easton, Larry Burd, Anna Sarnocinska-Hart, Jürgen Rehm, Svetlana Popova


Objective: The purpose of this study was to estimate the productivity losses due to morbidity of individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Method: A demographic approach was used. Population estimates were calculated using data for the most recent available year (i.e., 2011) on the population of Canada by provinces, the labor force, unemployment rate, and the average weekly wage, all of which were obtained from Statistics Canada. To estimate the number of FASD cases in Canada in 2011, the prevalence of FASD, obtained from the available epidemiological literature, was applied to the general population of Canada. Assumptions made on the level of impairment that would affect the ability of individuals with FASD to participate in the workforce or reduce their productivity were based on data obtained from the current epidemiological literature and experts' opinions. To estimate the cost of FASD, a counterfactual scenario was used with an assumption that there is no one born with FASD in Canada. Results: About 0.03% of the Canadian workforce experiences a loss of productivity because of FASD-attributable morbidity, which translates to aggregate losses ranging from $418 million Canadian dollars (CND) to $1.08 billion CND annually. Conclusions: FASD imposes a considerable economic toll on Canadian society and therefore requires more preventive efforts. (J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs, 75, 1011–1017, 2014)

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