The Government of Canada has launched a new consultation process to help shape the regulations in the new Canada Disability Benefit.
If you are a person with disabilities, a caregiver, a family member, or a professional who works with the disability community, you are invited to provide your feedback on what you want the benefit to look like in practice. This might include things like eligibility criteria, the process for applying for the benefit, and – importantly – the benefit amount.
There are options for how you provide your feedback: The government has an online engagement tool which provides short descriptions of different elements of the benefit and asks for your comments. Alternatively, you can provide feedback through email, phone, mail, video relay, or by sending a video. Transcripts and alternative formats are also available. The consultation process is open until December 21, 2023.
You can find more information on how to provide your feedback here:
What is happening with the benefit now and what’s next?
The Canada Disability Benefit Act (Bill C-22) was passed in Parliament on June 22, 2023. However, it is not yet ‘in force’. This must happen by June 22, 2024. The government then has one year to create the regulations that will determine what the Canada Disability Benefit looks like in practice. The feedback process will inform the regulations.
We still do not know when people can expect to start receiving the benefit.
Why is the Canada Disability Benefit so important?
People with disabilities experience a disproportional rate of poverty. According to the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability, 23% of working-age Canadians with disabilities live in poverty, compared with 10% of the general population. This number grows to 28% for people with severe disabilities, and to 34% for people with very severe disabilities. These numbers increased dramatically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which disproportionately affected people with disabilities.
The Canada Disability Benefit aims to address this inequity by creating a basic income for people with disabilities in Canada.