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e-3656 (Social affairs and equality)

Initiated by Michelle Hewitt from Kelowna, British Columbia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • Poverty is exhausting and intrudes on all aspects of your daily life;
  • For people with disabilities, the added costs of being disabled increase the daily struggles;
  • 41 percent of the people living in poverty in Canada have a disability, a disproportionate amount, given that people with disabilities make up 22 percent of the population;
  • In a recent survey, 89 percent of Canadians agreed that a Canada Disability Benefit is the right thing to do and that the country should come together to dramatically reduce disability poverty;
  • The Canada Disability Benefit is a high priority legacy initiative;
  • This benefit will centre the needs of people with disabilities in the country’s pandemic recovery plans, addressing a longstanding gap in Canada’s social safety net while honouring its commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and
  • All-party support is anticipated for fast action to make Canada the first country to provide a livable income supplement for people with disabilities, as was done for seniors and children.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to place the implementation of the Canada Disability Benefit at the forefront of the political agenda by:
1. Fast-tracking the design and implementation of the Canada Disability Benefit; and
2. Actively and genuinely involving disabled people every step of the way to work alongside the government to make it happen.

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

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): IREK KUSMIERCZYK

Working age persons with disabilities are twice as likely to live in poverty and less likely to be able to earn income through employment compared to other working age Canadians. As a result, close to one million Canadians with disabilities live in poverty, with over half a million of those Canadians living in deep poverty. That is why our Government is taking action through the creation of a Canada Disability Benefit.

The Government remains committed to the re-introduction and implementation of a Canada Disability Benefit Act that will support hundreds of thousands of working age Canadians with disabilities living in poverty. This commitment was reiterated on December 16, 2021 in the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion’s mandate letter, which asks the Minister to “move forward with the design, introduction and implementation of a Canada Disability Benefit Act and Canada Disability Benefit for low-income working age persons with disabilities.” The aim of the proposed benefit is to reduce poverty by supplementing existing federal and provincial-territorial supports.  

Our intention is to move forward as fast as we can while also ensuring that the design and implementation of the benefit is managed in a way that maximizes its positive impacts and minimizes any potential negative impacts. That is why we are proceeding with engagement with both persons with disabilities as well as provinces and territories on the design.

The Government is continuing to engage the disability community on aspects of the proposed benefit’s design. During the summer 2021, in keeping with Canada’s commitments under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the spirit of “Nothing Without Us,” the Government launched an engagement process to seek input on the Disability Inclusion Action Plan and the proposed Canada Disability Benefit from disability communities, researchers, Indigenous organizations and other stakeholders. This engagement included an online survey that closed last fall and received input from approximately 8,600 Canadians. The Government has also been hosting a series of roundtables with persons with disabilities, national disability organizations, disability service providers, organizations representing racialized persons with disabilities and disability researchers to seek input on key questions related to the design and delivery of the proposed benefit. In addition, funding agreements are being put in place to support disability organizations and national Indigenous organizations to engage their members on the Disability Inclusion Action Plan and the proposed benefit. These engagement efforts will continue throughout the parliamentary and regulatory processes to ensure the meaningful engagement of persons with disabilities.  

In addition, provincial and territorial governments are critical partners in developing the proposed Canada Disability Benefit. An initial meeting of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Social Services took place in July 2021 where Ministers committed to work together to improve outcomes for persons with disabilities. The Government will continue to work closely with provinces and territories on the design of the proposed benefit, which will be grounded in the CRPD, in order to maximize the impact that this new benefit will have on reducing poverty and supporting the financial security of working-age persons with disabilities and to ensure it does not create any unintended consequences. 

Open for signature
November 12, 2021, at 9:51 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
January 11, 2022, at 9:51 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Mike Morrice (Kitchener Centre)
February 10, 2022 (Petition No. 441-00175)
Government response tabled
March 28, 2022
Photo - Mike Morrice
Kitchener Centre
Green Party Caucus