Minister Qualtrough announces new details on proposed financial support for persons with disabilities during COVID-19

News release

July 17, 2020              Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada

The Government of Canada continues to take immediate, significant and decisive action to ensure that the needs of all Canadians are supported during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, the Government announced a series of measures to help Canadians with disabilities navigate the effects of the outbreak, including a one-time, tax-free, non-reportable payment of $600 to assist with additional expenses incurred during the pandemic.

These additional expenses might include higher costs for personal protective equipment; additional expenses related to hiring personal support workers and accessing other disability supports; paying for increased costs for medical supplies and medication; higher internet costs associated with physical distancing; and increased use of taxis and home delivery services to obtain groceries and prescriptions.

Today, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, announced that the Government of Canada intends to propose legislation that would make the benefit available to more people and expand the one-time payment to include approximately 1.7 million Canadians with disabilities, who are recipients of any of the following programs or benefits:

  • A Disability Tax Credit certificate provided by the Canada Revenue Agency;
  • Canada Pension Plan disability benefit or Quebec Pension Plan disability benefit; and
  • Disability supports provided by Veterans Affairs Canada.

The Government has shared draft legislative proposals that would facilitate these payments. If enacted, eligible Canadians would receive the payment automatically.

Additionally, Canadians with disabilities who are eligible for the Disability Tax Credit but have not yet applied, would have a 60-day window of opportunity to do so after Royal Assent.

Seniors who are eligible for the one-time payment to persons with disabilities would receive a total of $600 in special payments. The one-time payment to persons with disabilities would be adjusted to provide a top-up for eligible seniors, including:

  • $300 for Canadians who are eligible for the Old Age Security pension and who received the
    one-time seniors payment of $300; or
  • $100 for Canadians who are eligible for the Old Age Security pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement or Allowances and who received the one-time senior’s payment of $500.

The Government remains committed to a pandemic response and recovery that is disability inclusive and thanks the members of the COVID-19 Disability Advisory Group for their tireless work and valued input over the past few months.

Quotes

“We recognize that Canadians with disabilities are disproportionally impacted by the pandemic. This includes the increased cost of food, transportation, medication, personal protective equipment, personal support workers, and other disability supports.  We have worked closely with the disability community during this time of crisis, including our COVID-19 Disability Advisory Group.  We will continue to work hard to increase accessibility and remove barriers, and remain committed to a pandemic response and recovery that is disability inclusive.”
– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

Quick facts

  • According to the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability, 22 percent of Canadians 15 years of age and over identify as having a disability. That rate goes up with age with 37.8 percent of Canadians over 65 and 47.4 percent over 75.

  • Among working-age Canadians with disabilities, more than 1.5 million, or 41 percent, are unemployed or out of the labour market entirely; among those with severe disabilities this rate increases to over 60 percent.

  • The Government of Canada is committed to supporting persons with disabilities in line with the principles and objectives of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Accessible Canada Act, which received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019, and came into force on July 11, 2019.

  • The COVID-19 Disability Advisory Group is advising the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion on the lived experiences of persons with disabilities during the pandemic, along with disability-specific issues, systemic gaps and potential responses.

Associated links

Contacts

For media enquiries, please contact:
Marielle Hossack
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Carla Qualtrough
819-654-5552
marielle.hossack@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca


Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
819-994-5559
media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca
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