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441-00849 (Social affairs and equality)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons


  • Disability financial support payments in Canada are currently far below the Official Poverty Line of Canada;
  • 1.5 million disabled Canadians currently suffer every single day in a state of "legislated poverty";
  • People who live with disability are left behind and the crisis in the cost of living hurts them particularly;
  • Poverty, isolation, and dependence on attendant care are all factors that compound disabled women's risks of gender violence and abuse; and
  • The NDP fights for the people and will pressure the government so that the Disability Benefit Act will be implemented and will lift people out of poverty.

We, the undersigned, concerned Canadian citizens, call upon the Government of Canada to end the current practice of "legislated poverty" of Canadians living with disabilities and establish a federal disability benefit that upholds human rights, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Sustainable Development Goal #1 (No Poverty) under Canada Disability Benefit Act.

Response by the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): IREK KUSMIERCZYK

Canadians with disabilities, especially of working age, have long faced high levels of financial insecurity. According to the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability, working age Canadians with disabilities experience poverty at nearly twice the rate of working age Canadians without disabilities (23% vs 12%). As well, there are the many extra costs associated with having a disability, such as the need for accessible housing and out of pocket disability-related expenses. These additional costs can be a significant hardship for Canadians with disabilities already living in low-income.

The Government is committed to reducing poverty and supporting the financial security of working-age persons with disabilities. On June 2, 2022, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion introduced in the House of Commons the Canada Disability Benefit Act, Bill C-22. This Bill received unanimous, all-party support in its second reading on October 18, 2022 and is currently being studied by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

This Act is framework legislation, establishing the benefit and providing the legal authorities to detail the benefit’s design in future regulations. Regulations developed under the Act will prescribe benefit amounts, eligibility criteria and other key design and administrative elements. This approach, in the spirit of “Nothing Without Us,” will allow the Government to continue to engage with Canadians with disabilities, other stakeholders and provincial and territorial governments to inform the Benefit’s design.

Engagement activities with the disability community began with a series of virtual roundtables that started in summer 2021 and continued into spring of 2022. Additionally, disability community-led engagement will continue until spring?2023, while Indigenous-led engagement could continue until 2023/2024. All of this input and advice is vital to inform the development and implementation of the proposed Canada Disability Benefit and regulations. 

As well, provincial and territorial governments are critical partners in developing the proposed benefit to ensure that it meets its intended objective of reducing poverty amongst persons with disabilities. Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Social Services met for an initial discussion on the Disability Inclusion Action Plan and the proposed benefit in July 2021 and that engagement has been ongoing.

The Canada Disability Benefit is a key component of Canada’s first-ever Disability Inclusion Action Plan. The Action Plan, released on October 7, 2022, is a blueprint for change to make Canada more inclusive of persons with disabilities based on the principles of equality, anti-discrimination, participation and inclusion in the development of our programs and policies.

Presented to the House of Commons
Bonita Zarrillo (Port Moody—Coquitlam)
November 18, 2022 (Petition No. 441-00849)
Government response tabled
January 30, 2023
Photo - Bonita Zarrillo
Port Moody—Coquitlam
New Democratic Party Caucus
British Columbia

60 signatures

Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.