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e-4514 (Social affairs and equality)

Initiated by Jeffrey Salisbury from London, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • People with disabilities often face barriers to employment along with higher costs associated with health care and housing;
  • The Canada Disability Benefit was delayed for over two years as the first attempt to pass the law establishing the benefit, known as Bill C-35, was postponed due to the call of the 2021 election;
  • The Canada Disability Benefit will provide much-needed financial support for people with disabilities, many of whom live in poverty;
  • Implementing the Canada Disability Benefit is expected to take a minimum of 18 months following the passage of Bill C-22, the Canada Disability Benefit Act, in June 2023; and
  • During this time there is currently no program in place to provide interim financial support to people with disabilities while the Canada Disability Benefit regulations are being created.
We, the undersigned, cItizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to create and implement a disability emergency relief benefit to provide immediate support to people with disabilities while awaiting the implementation of the Canada Disability Benefit.

Response by the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Sameer Zuberi

The Government is committed to reducing poverty and supporting the financial security of working-age persons with disabilities. Bill C-22, the Canada Disability Benefit Act, was introduced in the House of Commons on June 2, 2022, and received Royal Assent on June 22, 2023.

The Act is framework legislation, establishing the benefit and providing the legal authorities to detail the benefit’s design in future regulations. Regulations made under the Act will prescribe benefit amounts, eligibility criteria and other 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. Support for this approach was voiced by a number of witnesses to the parliamentary study of Bill C-22. They mentioned that the use of framework legislation deeply aligned with the principle of “Nothing Without Us,” by providing persons with disabilities inclusive and accessible opportunities to participate in the design and detail of a benefit specifically targeted to them.

The Government is very aware of the fact that many Canadians with disabilities need the additional financial support that the Canada Disability Benefit will provide. The intent, therefore, is to move forward quickly with the regulatory development process. To that end, the 2023 federal budget committed $21.5 million in 2023-24 to continue work on the future delivery of the benefit, including engagement on the regulations. This work will build on engagement activities, including roundtables and an on-line public survey, that took place in 2021 and 2022, as well as community-led consultations which continue into 2023.Since August 2023, the Government has started a new phase of engagement with persons with disabilities and stakeholder organizations excited to provide input to the development of the benefit’s regulations. This new engagement has been through roundtables, bilateral meetings and the future launch of an online engagement tool. As well, engagement will continue with the provinces and territories, who play a central role in providing supports and services for persons with disabilities.

An interim measure would require a new program to be established including potential additional legislation to be passed by Parliament, as well as establishment of administrative processes and procedures. Given limited resources, this could have the effect of delaying the development and implementation of the Canada Disability Benefit. The Government is focusing its resources on implementing the benefit as soon as possible, while ensuring the meaningful involvement of persons with disabilities in the development of the regulations.

Open for signature
July 12, 2023, at 8:40 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
September 10, 2023, at 8:40 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Mike Morrice (Kitchener Centre)
September 18, 2023 (Petition No. 441-01605)
Government response tabled
November 1, 2023
Photo - Mike Morrice
Kitchener Centre
Green Party Caucus