Readout: Disability Advisory Committee Meeting – March 7, 2022

The Disability Advisory Committee (DAC) met virtually on March 7, 2022.

The meeting opened with greetings from the co-chairs who welcomed Commissioner Bob Hamilton and two representatives from the office of the Minister of National Revenue, Diane Lebouthillier:  Philippe-Alexandre Langlois, Special Assistant and Jessica Morrison, Director of Policy.

Mr. Hamilton thanked the Committee for their hard work and for the progress they have made over their tenure, particularly in contributing to legislative decisions around eligibility for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC). He highlighted the DAC’s commitment to promoting equitable access to the DTC among Indigenous peoples and committed to continued engagement with the DAC on the subject of further enhancements on benefit outreach to Indigenous audiences.

The CRA provided the committee with an update on the progress of the Agency’s Accessibility Plan. The Accessibility Plan is a requirement of all government agencies as a part of the federal government’s commitment to make Canada barrier-free by 2040. The CRA’s Accessibility Plan is set to be published at the end of 2022.

The CRA provided updates on the modernization of the DTC webpages. The CRA has restructured the content to make it easier to find key information, and revised the language to improve understanding; those pages are being tested with targeted users now with a view to launch in April 2022. They also updated the progress of the digital application which launched last fall.

The CRA also highlighted some of the efforts currently underway to support outreach to Indigenous peoples which includes initiatives like the “Let Us Help You Get Your Benefits!” Credit and benefit return (and the associated Canada child benefit application form). This simplified form began as a pilot in 2020 and is now available to all Indigenous communities both rural and urban. These forms and other offerings specific to Indigenous peoples will be showcased during an upcoming outreach webinar for Indigenous peoples to be held on March 30, 2022.

The DAC participated in preliminary discussions on the Canada Disability Benefit (CDB) and its potential impact on the DTC. DAC members provided insight to discussion questions considered at a CDB Roundtable event.

DAC members discussed the progress of their third annual report. This will include a brief overview of the changes made as a result of their previous recommendations, outstanding issues and a landscape of changes that are in progress that will have an impact on the DTC. The third annual report will be more focused on the work the DAC has done and how it has impacted CRA’s work. The report is on schedule for a summer 2022 release.

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