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e-4667 (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 (CDB) 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 2021 election;
  • The CDB will provide much-needed financial support for people with disabilities, many of whom live in poverty;
  • The minister responsible has told Canadians that implementing the CDB is expected to take a minimum of 18 months following Bill C-22, the Canada Disability Benefit Act, achieving Royal Assent on June 22, 2023;
  • Insufficient supports on current disability programs federally and provincially present a significant risk to life and health for people with disabilities across the country living in legislated poverty;
  • The federal government has refused to provide people with disabilities with an interim Disability Emergency Response Benefit;
  • Back payments are provided to eligible recipients for other disability benefits, such as the Disability Tax Credit and the Canada Disability Savings Grant; and
  • The government has yet to budget the necessary funds for the CDB into the federal expenditures.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to
1. Provide back payment to eligible CDB recipients covering the time from when the Canada Disability Benefit Act received Royal Assent to the date on which CDB payments commence; and
2. Budget the necessary funds for the CDB into the federal expenditures in Budget 2024 to demonstrate to the government’s commitment to providing the CDB to the disabled community as soon as possible.

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

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Sameer Zuberi

The Government fully recognizes that many Canadians with disabilities are in desperate need of the additional financial support that the Canada Disability Benefit will provide. The intent, therefore, continues to be to move forward with the regulatory development process as quickly as possible. To that end, the 2023 federal budget committed $21.5 million in 2023/2024 to continue work on the future delivery of the benefit, including engagement with the disability community and provinces and territories on the regulatory process. This work is building on previous engagement activities, including roundtables and an on-line public survey, that took place in 2021 and 2022, as well as community-led engagement which continued into 2023. Engagement is also taking place with the provinces and territories, who play a central role in providing supports and services for persons with disabilities, and with Modern Treaties and Self Government Agreement holders as well as National Indigenous Organizations.

This engagement is necessary to ensure that the regulations are informed by the lived experience of persons with disabilities, in the spirit of ‘nothing without us’, and it is also an explicit requirement of the Canada Disability Benefit Act, where Parliament specifically required the Minister to “provide persons with disabilities from a range of backgrounds with meaningful and barrier-free opportunities to collaborate in the development and design of the regulations.” In the development of regulations for the benefit, we are balancing the need for meaningful and thorough engagement with the need to get the benefit into the hands of those who need it as quickly as possible.

In relation to the petition’s request that back payments be made under the Act to cover the period between the Act’s Royal Assent and when benefit payments commence, the Act does not provide authority for the benefit to be paid for periods prior to the regulations coming into force. Funding for the benefit will be determined through the federal budgetary processes, which Parliamentarians will have an opportunity to review and debate.

Open for signature
November 3, 2023, at 11:58 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
February 1, 2024, at 11:58 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Mike Morrice (Kitchener Centre)
February 8, 2024 (Petition No. 441-02127)
Government response tabled
March 22, 2024
Photo - Mike Morrice
Kitchener Centre
Green Party Caucus