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e-3991 (Social affairs and equality)

Initiated by William Leggat from Duncan, British Columbia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • 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"; and
  • The government continues to allow the wealthy, well-connected, and multinational corporations to hoard billions in offshore accounts or forgo taxes and fair prices for our country's resources.
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 of $2,200 per month.

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

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): IREK KUSMIERCZYK

Canadians with disabilities have long faced high levels of financial insecurity, especially those of working age. 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%). Added to this are the many extra costs associated with living with a disability, such as 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. The House of Commons started debating Bill C-22 at Second Reading on September 20, 2022.

This Act is framework legislation, establishing the benefit and providing the legal authorities to detail the benefit design into regulations. Regulations developed under the Act will prescribe benefit amounts, eligibility criteria and other key design and administrative elements of the proposed benefit. This approach will allow for continued engagement on the specific design of the proposed benefit to be detailed in future regulations while the Bill moves through the parliamentary process.

With the principle of “Nothing Without Us” as a priority, the Government will continue to engage with Canadians with disabilities, provincial and territorial governments and other stakeholders to inform the design of the benefit. As well, the Parliamentary process itself and the regulatory process will provide further opportunities to engage and consult on the design parameters of the benefit. 

Engagement activities began during summer?2021 and continued into this year, with a series of virtual roundtables with stakeholders that took place in winter and spring of 2022. Additionally, community-led engagement and Indigenous-led engagement are taking place on a separate track. It is anticipated that community-led engagement, currently underway, could take place 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/Territorial (F-P/T) Ministers Responsible for Social Services met for an initial discussion on the Disability Inclusion Action Plan and the proposed benefit in July 2021. Bilateral and multilateral engagement with provinces and territories has been ongoing.  F-P/T Ministers Responsible for Social Services are expected to meet again in late-Autumn 2022 to discuss the benefit and its interaction with P/T programs.

The Canada Disability Benefit is a key component of Canada’s first-ever Disability Inclusion Action Plan. The Action Plan will be 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.

Open for signature
April 27, 2022, at 10:39 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
August 25, 2022, at 10:39 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan—Malahat—Langford)
September 20, 2022 (Petition No. 441-00651)
Government response tabled
November 3, 2022
Photo - Alistair MacGregor
New Democratic Party Caucus
British Columbia