By Employment and Social Development Canada
The Government of Canada is committed to the social and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities. Working-age persons with disabilities in Canada are twice as likely to live in poverty as those without. That is why 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), reports Crision.
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.
"With the Canada Disability Benefit, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to correct the long-standing social and economic exclusion that is the lived experience of far too many people with disabilities in our country. We can seriously reduce poverty and improve the financial security of working-age Canadians with disabilities. We have the opportunity to create a Canada that includes everyone."
– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough
- According to the most recent Canadian Survey on Disabilities (2017), the poverty rate of persons with disability is almost double that of Canadians without disabilities.
- Canadians with disabilities—including women, men, LGBTQ2 people, racialized people and Indigenous people—are more likely to be financially insecure than other Canadians:
- 59% of Canadians with disabilities aged 25 to 64 are employed, compared to 80% of Canadians without disabilities; and
- Canadians with disabilities aged 25 to 64 earn less than Canadians without disabilities (12% less for Canadians with milder disabilities and 51% less for Canadians with more severe disabilities).