Inclusion Canada made recommendations to the Government of Canada for Federal Budget 2023. The federal budget tells us what initiatives and programs the government plans to spend money on in the coming year. It is important that we provide our community’s priorities. Federal Budget 2023 will come out next month.
Inclusion Canada’s recommendations were chosen after talking to our federation of provincial and territorial associations. We made seven recommendations that would make life better for people with intellectual disabilities and their families in Canada.
Here are the recommendations:
- Fund the Canada Disability Benefit.
The Canada Disability Benefit is currently being debated in Senate. It hasn’t been approved yet. We want the government to set aside money in their budget to pay for the benefit.
- Enhance the Child Disability Benefit.
The Child Disability Benefit is a tax-free monthly payment made to families who care for a child under age 18 with a disability. The benefit is much too low to significantly improve the quality of life for families and children with disabilities. We think the benefit should be doubled. We also think youth with disabilities above the age of 18 should be eligible. The benefit should not be taxed. Getting the benefit should not prevent people from being able to get other provincial or territorial benefits.
- Invest in inclusive childcare.
High-quality, affordable and inclusive early learning and childcare is important. Inclusive childcare programs give every child the chance to build friendships, learn, and belong.
The federal government recently negotiated childcare agreements with the provinces and territories. The agreements mentioned inclusive childcare. We want the federal government to put money aside in Federal Budget 2023 to improve childcare providers’ capacity for truly inclusive childcare. Childcare providers need training, resources, and professional development. We think the federal government should help.
- Improve people with disabilities’ access to the Canada Housing Benefit.
Many Canadians with a disability find their rent too expensive to afford. This is because Canadians with a disability experience additional “hidden” housing costs. We think the government should add a disability rent supplement to the Canada Housing Benefit. By offering extra help to people with a disability, the supplement would make rent costs more equal.
- Put $100,000,000 to The Social Development Partnerships Program – Disability Component (SDPP-D).
The government of Canada should put money aside to build the capacity of disability organizations. This will help make sure that all of programs and initiatives in Federal Budget 2023 are accessible and inclusive for persons with intellectual and other disabilities. Putting $100,000,000 toward The Social Development Partnerships Program – Disability Component (SDPP-D) would help to remove barriers to inclusion. This money would help the government deliver on the “Nothing without us” principle of the United Nations Committee on the on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
- Make sure all government departments use the same definition of “disability” – the definition in the Accessible Canada Act.
The Accessible Canada Act (ACA) defines disability as “any impairment, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication or sensory impairment—or a functional limitation—whether permanent, temporary or episodic in nature, or evident or not, that, in interaction with a barrier, hinders a person’s full and equal participation in society.”
We want all government departments to use the Accessible Canada Act definition of disability. Budget 2023 should include enough funds to review and fully update the language of Canada’s programs and policies about disability. Using this definition of disability will mean that more people are eligible for funding. Federal Budget 2023 should set money aside for this.
- Invest in inclusive mental healthcare.
The government has made a commitment to establish a new federal transfer to provinces and territories called the Canada Mental Health Transfer. Some of this money needs to be dedicated to making mental healthcare inclusive for people with intellectual and other disabilities. This starts with education and training. We know mental healthcare can be unaffordable, difficult to navigate, and to have long waitlists. These issues are worse for persons with intellectual disabilities who face unique barriers.
Inclusion Canada works to build an inclusive Canada by strengthening families, defending rights, and transforming communities into places where everyone belongs. These are our top seven priorities. But we believe that everything in Federal Budget 2023 should be inclusive of people with intellectual disabilities.
“Let’s Talk Budget 2023” is an opportunity for Canadians to share their ideas and thoughts about what Canada should include in the budget. There is an open questionnaire, which takes only about five minutes to answer and is available for submissions until February 10, 2023. You can support Inclusion Canada’s submission by filling out the questionnaire (https://www.letstalkbudget2023.ca/let-s-talk-budget-2023).
A copy of our budget submission can also be downloaded by clicking here https://bit.ly/3Hpy6s4.
Let’s work together to support these recommendations and build a more equitable and inclusive society for all. Get involved today and make your views heard through “Let’s Talk Budget 2023.”