Backgrounder: Supporting Canadians with disabilities - Canada Disability Benefit
The Government of Canada has reintroduced legislation to create a new Canada Disability Benefit (CDB). The purpose of the proposed benefit is to reduce poverty and support the financial security of working-age persons with disabilities.
In the spirit and principle of “Nothing Without Us”, the proposed CDB will be informed through further engagement with the disability community as well as other stakeholders, including Indigenous organizations, and academics.
Budget 2021 committed the Government to undertaking consultations with stakeholders on the design of a new disability benefit and engaging with provincial and territorial government counterparts, as they play a leading role in providing support to many Canadians with disabilities.
On June 4, 2021, the Minister launched the first round of engagement on the development of the Disability Inclusion Action Plan. Canadians had until September 30, 2021, to complete an online survey and more than 8,500 responses were received.
On December 22, 2021, the Accessible Canada Regulations were published in Canada Gazette Part 2. The regulations focus on accessibility planning and reporting. At the same time, regulatory guidance was published—which includes recommended tips and best practices for developing accessibility plans in consultation with persons with disabilities—to help regulated entities meet and exceed the new regulatory requirements.
Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Social Services and Disability met in July 2021 for an initial discussion on the proposed new benefit, and this engagement continues.
In the spirit of “Nothing Without Us”, the Government will continue to support and engage the disability community to ensure that this benefit is designed with their needs and concerns in mind. Roundtables have taken place throughout the winter and spring of 2022, and community-led consultations will continue over the coming months.
Engagement is also ongoing with provincial and territorial governments, who play a leading role in providing support to many Canadians with disabilities.
The CDB legislation is the latest step the Government has taken to build a more accessible and disability inclusive Canada:
- Since 2015, the Government of Canada has named a Minister responsible for Persons with Disabilities, and signed on to both the Marrakesh Treaty and the Optional Protocol of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
- The Accessible Canada Act (ACA) came into force on July 11, 2019. Working within the federal jurisdiction, its purpose is to create a barrier-free Canada by 2040 by identifying, removing and preventing barriers within the following areas: employment; the built environment; communication; information and communication technologies; the procurement of goods, services and facilities; the design and delivery of programs and services; and transportation.
- Accessibility Standards Canada was established by the ACA to create, review and revise accessibility standards, and to lead research on accessibility.
- The Government created the COVID-19 Disability Advisory Group to advise 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. The Advisory Group’s mandate was renewed and expanded in December 2020, and again in December 2021 and it continues to advise the Minister on the disability inclusion and accessibility priorities of the Government of Canada.
- On September 23, 2020, the Government committed in its Speech from the Throne to bring forward the first-ever Disability Inclusion Action Plan that includes:
- a new Canada Disability Benefit similar to the Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors or the Canada Child Benefit for families with children;
- a robust employment strategy for Canadians with disabilities with a focus on training, employment supports, barrier removal and the business case for disability inclusion; and,
- a new, inclusive process to determine eligibility for federal government disability programs and benefits – one that reflects a modern understanding of disability.
- Beginning on October 30, 2020, the Government provided a one-time payment of up to $600 to support Canadians with disabilities with additional expenses incurred during the pandemic.
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