Disability Advisory Committee
On November 23, 2017, the Minister of National Revenue announced that the Disability Advisory Committee is being re-instated. The Committee will be a way for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to connect with a wide range of stakeholders and take their views into account as we administer tax measures for people with disabilities.
The Committee’s core role will be to provide advice to the Minister of National Revenue and the Commissioner of the CRA on the administration and interpretation of the laws and programs related to disability tax measures administered by the CRA, and on ways in which we can take into consideration the needs and expectations of the disability community as well as increase awareness and take-up of measures for people with disabilities.
The Committee will advise the CRA on how we can better inform people with disabilities and various stakeholders about tax measures and important administrative changes. The Committee will also review the CRA’s administrative practices and make recommendations on how we can enhance the quality of our services for people with disabilities.
Committee Composition and Members’ Roles
The Committee will be co-chaired by Frank Vermaeten, CRA Assistant Commissioner, and by Dr. Karen R. Cohen, CEO of the Canadian Psychological Association. The Committee will also include 12 voluntary members including people with disabilities, qualified health practitioners, advocates from the disability and Indigenous communities, and professionals from a variety of fields, such as tax professionals and lawyers:
Sherri Torjman, Vice-Chair of the Committee, former Vice-President, Caledon Institute of Social Policy, from Ontario
Laurie Beachell, Baker Law, from Manitoba
Gary Birch, Neil Squire Foundation, from British Columbia
Dr. Jeff Blackmer, Canadian Medical Association, from Ontario
Lembi Buchanan, Coalition for Disability Tax Credit Reform, from British Columbia
Michael Edgson, RBC Financial, from British Columbia
Roberta Heale, Nurses Practitioner Association of Canada, from Ontario
James Hicks, Council of Canadians with Disabilities, from Manitoba
Emily Johnson, Diabetes Canada, from Alberta
Wendall Nicholas, Wabanaki Council on Disability, from New Brunswick
Véronique Vézina, COPHAN, from Québec
Karen Wiwchar, H&R Block Canada, from Alberta
The Committee will initially meet three times a year, with its first meeting expected to take place in 2018. To keep costs reasonable, members could also meet via video or teleconference instead of face-to-face, and consultations with stakeholders could be held online.
The CRA recognizes the importance of working collaboratively with stakeholders and hearing a range of perspectives to ensure that the CRA fully understands the challenges faced by people with disabilities that can be reflected in its administration of tax measures affecting individuals with disabilities. The Committee will help us to ensure that we consider Canadians’ views in how we administer the range of tax measures for people living with disabilities.
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