Readout: Disability Advisory Committee Meeting - September 16, 2022

Disability Advisory Committee (DAC) co-chair, Frank Vermaeten, and new vice-chair, Jonathan Lai (on behalf of new co-chair Sharon McCarry), opened the meeting on September 16, 2022, by welcoming Jonas Fadeu, Senior Policy Advisor to the Minister of National Revenue.

Mr. Fadeu shared the Minister’s greetings, and thanked the DAC, while highlighting the committee’s role in influencing recent legislative changes to the disability tax credit (DTC), which included expansion of the DTC eligibility criteria for mental functions and life-sustaining therapy.

Mr. Vermaeten then welcomed the new co-chair, Sharon McCarry, and vice-chair Jonathan Lai to their roles. The previous co-chair and vice-chair completed their terms earlier this summer.

The CRA spoke to the successful implementation of some of the DAC’s administrative recommendations from the fist and second annual reports. For example, the 2021 launch of the digital application for the DTC was a result of the DAC’s recommendation to offer an electronic application for the credit. This has provided medical practitioners a dynamic and guided process for completing their portion of DTC.

Additionally, the CRA created a “navigator” position to assist individuals and families to complete their DTC applications and updated the DTC webpages to improve the quality and accessibility of information available. 

The DAC discussed existing priorities and provided an opportunity for new members to share their comments. They discussed a range of work that interested new members, and also emphasized the need to ensure that DTC processes, procedures and communication take into account Canada’s diverse population. As an example, the members discussed avenues to better address the needs of persons with disabilities who also belong to other minority or vulnerable populations (such as Indigenous peoples, other racialized groups and newcomers). The DAC agreed to reprise the discussion at a later date to solidify any new areas of focus. Ms. McCarry discussed the use of working groups as a way to maximize the efficacy of the DAC’s work.

The committee discussed the release of the DAC’s upcoming annual report, which will highlight new recommendations, describe the progress made toward the implementation of recommendations included in the first and second annual reports, and reiterate the DAC’s commitment to support persons with disabilities. The release of the third annual report will be published on December 2, 2022, to align with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The Public Affairs Branch spoke to the promotional strategy to publicize the report upon its release in tandem with the CRA’s response.

The CRA presented its vision to develop new and review existing strategies and initiatives that support tax filing for Indigenous Peoples, including promoting the DTC to Indigenous persons with disabilities. The presentation was well received by the DAC, and all parties committed to continued dialogue to find ways to best support Indigenous persons with disabilities.

Mr. Vermaeten closed the meeting by offering his thanks to the DAC for a productive discussion, and for their participation in the first meeting with its new membership.

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