Working-age persons with disabilities in Canada are twice as likely to live in poverty as those without. The Government is taking action to reduce poverty and support the financial security of persons with disabilities.
Today, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, reintroduced ground-breaking legislation that would establish a new Canada Disability Benefit (CDB).
The CDB would become an important part of Canada’s social safety net, alongside Old Age Security, the Guaranteed Income Supplement and the Canada Child Benefit. It could significantly reduce poverty and benefit hundreds of thousands of Canadians.
Through Budget 2021, the Government invested $11.9 million over three years to reform eligibility processes for federal disability programs and benefits. This work began in the summer of 2021 in the form of ministerial roundtables with the disability community and an on-line public survey. This work is ongoing and will directly inform the CDB.
In the spirit of “Nothing Without Us,” the legislation reintroduced today recognizes the importance of engaging with the disability community. The Accessible Canada Act, which came into force in 2019, specifies that persons with disabilities must be involved in the development and design of laws, policies, programs, services and structures. The Government will continue to work with persons with disabilities and other stakeholders to inform the design of the benefit and future regulations.
The legislation reintroduced today also recognizes the leading role that provinces and territories play in providing supports and services to Canadians with disabilities, and the importance of engaging with them in developing federal benefits and supports. Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Social Services met in July 2021 for an initial discussion on the proposed new benefit. This work continues. The Government of Canada remains committed to ensuring that the CDB supplements existing provincial and territorial supports and benefits.
The legislation reintroduced today has the potential to significantly advance the work of disability inclusion in Canada. It is being reintroduced as Canada marks its sixth annual National AccessAbility Week. This week is an opportunity for the country to celebrate the contributions of Canadians with disabilities, recognize the progress the disability community has made on disability rights, and commit to the work ahead to make Canada disability inclusive. Financial security is a critical part of that mission.