Readout: Disability Advisory Committee Meeting – February 19-20, 2020
The Disability Advisory Committee (DAC) met in Ottawa on February 19–20, 2020, for its first meeting of the year.
At the meeting, Commissioner Bob Hamilton welcomed Francesco Sorbara, the new Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue to his first DAC meeting.
Parliamentary Secretary Sorbara had the opportunity to meet the members and thank them for their work on the Committee. The Parliamentary Secretary acknowledged the Committee members as important partners to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) who provide critical perspectives and insight into the realities of people whose lives are affected by disabilities.
Parliamentary Secretary Sorbara also introduced Ray McGuire, a new member of the Disability Advisory Committee. Ray is a member of the Choctaw Nation and he has worked for many years with Indigenous communities in British Columbia and Alberta. Ray is on the Board of Directors for the British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society.
Departing members Mme Véronique Vézina and Ms. Emily Johnson, whose terms came to an end in January 2020, were thanked for their contributions during the last two years.
The CRA provided an update on its progress to implement the administrative recommendations outlined in the DAC’s first annual report: Enabling access to disability tax measures.
The CRA has fulfilled, or is in the process of fulfilling, the remaining administrative recommendations, including some of these noteworthy initiatives:
- The paper application form (Form T2201) is being redesigned;
- Form T2201 and supporting documents can now be submitted through MyAccount or Represent a Client;
- The CRA is studying other comparable federal, provincial, and territorial programs, such as the Canada Pension Plan disability benefit and Quebec’s disability program, to leverage best practices;
- A “Navigator” role is being created as a liaison between the applicant, the CRA, and medical practitioners. The navigator will help educate taxpayers on the DTC, the eligibility criteria, and assist them through the application process. This will reduce the need for clarification letters and the number of cases that are denied at the outset;
- Canadians can now address all of their complex DTC-related questions in one phone call using our enhanced telephone service; and
- The CRA has increased DTC-related outreach efforts, taping into other initiatives such as the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP).
The CRA also indicated that there is ongoing work with the Department of Finance to discuss the longer-term recommendations that involve legislative and policy changes.
During the meeting, the Committee created four new working groups to align with its current objectives, including an Administrative Advisory Group, Stakeholder Working Group, Policy Working Group and Report Working Group. They reviewed their work plans for the coming months, which will include additional research to explore their more complex recommendations. The Committee also engaged in a fulsome discussion regarding the content and structure of their second annual report. The meeting concluded with plans to meet again in late spring 2020.
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