OTTAWA, ON – On June 22, a historic bill was tabled by the Honourable Carla Qualtrough in Canada’s Parliament. Bill C-35, An Act to reduce poverty and to support the financial security of persons with disabilities, will introduce a Canada Disability Benefit to address the high rates of poverty experienced by people with a disability.
Inclusion Canada urges all political parties to support this legislation, which if designed well has the potential to increase financial security and independence for all people with disabilities.
Inclusion Canada has been calling for measures to lift Canadians with a disability out of poverty for several years. This legislation provides a framework to introduce the disability benefit. In a press conference following the tabling of Bill C-35, Minister Qualtrough stated the government’s intention to “work with the disability community through the summer and beyond to ensure this benefit is designed with their input in mind.”
With commitment to consult Canadians with disabilities, we look forward to offering our collective input during this consultation process. The Canada Disability Benefit has the potential to be Canada’s first truly inclusive and accessible income support program.
“This legislation is encouraging which could bring monumental change for people with disabilities and we are cautiously optimistic about its potential impact,” says Executive Vice President of Inclusion Canada, Krista Carr, “A disability income benefit has the potential to lift hundreds of thousands of people with a disability out of poverty and enable them to pursue an equitable and inclusive life.”
Pervasive poverty exists among adults with an intellectual disability. Over 75% of people with an intellectual disability not living with a parent or relative live below the poverty line. The average income for working age people with an intellectual disability is less than half of that of those without a disability.
“Without a disability income benefit, people with a disability in Canada will continue to fall behind,” says Robin Acton, President of Inclusion Canada. “The statistics are clear – people with an intellectual disability cannot afford the resources they need to live fully inclusive lives in their communities. A disability income benefit, if designed right, will go a long way to address that disparity.”
Inclusion Canada has drafted a one-page document outlining design recommendations for a disability benefit, which can be accessed on our website. The House of Commons is now on summer break. With election speculation, the future of the Bill remains uncertain. Inclusion Canada will work over the summer period with all federal parties to promote passing this legislation. If an election occurs, this policy will be a crucial part of Inclusion Canada’s election platform advocacy.
Media Contact: Marc Muschler, Senior Communications Officer, Inclusion Canada, email@example.com
Inclusion Canada is a national federation of 13 provincial-territorial associations and over 300 local associations working to advance the full inclusion and human rights of people with an intellectual disability and their families. We lead the way in building an inclusive Canada by strengthening families, defending rights, and transforming communities into places where everyone belongs.