Budget 2021: An important step forward in supporting people living with disabilities

The Disability Advisory Committee (DAC) applauds Budget 2021 and the Government of Canada’s support for two of our key policy recommendations, made in our second annual report released on April 9.

Access to the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) has long been challenging for people living with mental disorders. The DTC eligibility criteria for mental disorders are complex, more onerous than for physical disorders and are not consistent with the way in which mental health providers recognize and diagnose mental illness. We enthusiastically welcome Budget 2021’s promise to revise the eligibility criteria for mental disorders, acting on our recommendation to bring about the much-needed legislative changes to make access to the DTC fairer for people living with mental disorders. Says DAC co-chair and CEO of the Canadian Psychological Association, Dr. Karen Cohen: “One of the DAC’s key pieces of work is to bring about more equal treatment of mental and physical disorders when it comes to disability tax credits and supports. The 2021 budget gets us much closer to that goal.”

Budget 2021 also commits to revising DTC eligibility criteria for people whose health depends on life sustaining therapies like dialysis or insulin therapy. This commitment also reflects recommendations we have made to bring about fairer, more reliable assessment of applications for the DTC and other supports. DAC’s vice-chair, Ms. Sherri Torjman notes: “The recommendations in the DAC’s 2019 and 2020 reports reflect the concerns shared by people living with disabilities and the health providers who assist them in their applications for disability-related supports. These two budget commitments, once implemented, will be a critically important step forward.”

These two commitments will create better and fairer access to disability tax measures for people with mental disorders or who require life sustaining therapy. They help move us toward a more progressive and responsive series of supports for people living with disability in Canada.

About the Disability Advisory Committee

The Disability Advisory Committee (DAC), appointed by the Minister of National Revenue advises the Minister and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on how the Agency can improve the way it administers and interprets tax measures for Canadians with disabilities. The DAC released its second annual report in April 2021 which can be found at: 2020 Second Annual Report of the Disability Advisory Committee – Full - Canada.ca

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