Readout: Disability Advisory Committee Meeting – December 5, 2022

Disability Advisory Committee (DAC) co-chairs, Frank Vermaeten and Sharon McCarry, opened the meeting by welcoming the Commissioner of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), Mr. Bob Hamilton.

Mr. Hamilton welcomed the new members and thanked the committee for their contributions to the recently released 2022 DAC annual report. He highlighted the improvements that the CRA has already made to the disability tax credit (DTC) in respect of the DAC’s recommendations from the first two reports. He also discussed the upcoming release of the CRA’s Accessibility Plan that will outline proposed strategies to ensure a barrier-free environment and services for Canadians with disabilities, as well as for Agency employees. Early in the new year, the CRA will also publish its own progress report to address previous DAC recommendations.

Ms. McCarry presented the ten new recommendations from the third annual report to the committee. She noted that many of the recommendations address the way the DTC is processed. The full report can be found here.

The four DAC working groups provided the following updates:

  1. Data: Members are identifying areas for data gathering and looking at opportunities to work with existing data sets. They recognize that there are some things that fall outside the CRA’s mandate, and that there is a need to collaborate with other government departments.
  2. Administration, Procedures, Usability and Medical Practitioners: Members discussed challenges related to the DTC eligibility requirements and the need for CRA to provide training to service providers to improve their understanding of the DTC process.
  3. DTC gateway to RDSP/Canada Disability Benefit: Members discussed the need to put forth recommendations that would better identify the DTC as a gateway to receive other benefits, credits and services. They are considering asking CRA to complete a comprehensive review of the legislation governing registered disability savings plans.
  4. Indigenous Issues: Members noted that consideration should be given to expand the list of approved health practitioners who can submit the DTC application to address the limited access to health providers in some Indigenous communities.

Ms. McCarry advised that the upcoming fourth annual report will include recommendations from these four working groups.

Ms. McCarry closed the meeting by thanking Mr. Vermaeten for his contributions to the DAC and wishing him well in retirement. The committee also welcomed Mr. Vermaeten’s successor, Ms. Gillian Pranke, Assistant Commissioner, Assessment, Benefits, and Service Branch, as the new CRA co-chair.

Mr. Vermaeten thanked the DAC membership and wished them continued success with their efforts.

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