Readout: Disability Advisory Committee Meeting – March 13, 2023

The new Disability Advisory Committee (DAC) co-chair Gillian Pranke, in collaboration with co-chair Sharon McCarry, opened the meeting on March 13 by welcoming Jeelan Syed, a Policy Advisor for the Honourable Minister of National Revenue, Diane Lebouthillier.

Ms. Pranke thanked the members for their participation, and for advising the CRA on how it can continue to improve administration and interpretation of tax measures for Canadians with disabilities.

Ms. McCarry provided her opening remarks and also acknowledged the work that the committee has put into discussing and developing solutions that will help inform the Minister, and the CRA, towards developing meaningful changes and producing a fulsome fourth annual report.

Ms. Pranke then proceeded with the CRA’s updates, including a status update on the implementation of the DAC’s recommendations that are noted in the DAC’s three annual reports, as well as an update on projects completed to date in response to recent legislative amendments to the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) eligibility criteria.

Ms. Rodger provided an update on the progress made in developing a service model to meet the needs of Indigenous peoples in interacting with the tax system which included the development of new support materials for regional officials to increase familiarity with Indigenous engagement protocols

Mr. Joy provided an update on work that had been undertaken to improve the readability and understanding of DTC verses. He also indicated that a fully digital DTC application is expected to launch this spring, allowing both the applicant and the medical practitioner to digitally submit their portion of the DTC application form to the CRA.

The Public Affairs Branch presented a strategic communication plan for the upcoming launch of the fully digital DTC application. They also presented a marketing project to discuss their evidenced-based approach for co-creating marketing and communications products with  equity-deserving groups. There are plans to partner with organizations led by, or working with, people with disabilities to co-create and disseminate content. 

A presentation will be given to the DAC members at a future date regarding the 2021 DTC Statistics publication, which will be published on March 21, 2023.

The four DAC working groups provided the following updates:

  1. Data: Members identified three core areas for the fourth annual report. These areas include DTC utilization, improving survey uptake, and a broader data strategy to address information gaps.
  2. Administration, Procedures, Usability and Medical Practitioners: Members discussed improving access to the DTC and creating a toolkit for providers.
  3. DTC as a gateway to other benefits: Members discussed how the role of the DTC is becoming increasingly important.
  4. Indigenous Issues: Members consulted with Indigenous representatives and are looking at various proposals for recommendations.

Ms. Pranke and Ms. McCarry closed the meeting by thanking the committee for their helpful insights. They also acknowledged that contributions have resulted in significant changes, and will continue to contribute towards improving the DTC for Canadians with disabilities.

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