Canada Disability Benefit Webinar Series – A two-part webinar series as preparation for the job ahead
In the recent Throne Speech was the acknowledgement by the federal government that COVID-19 has not only disproportionately affected Canadians with disabilities but laid bare long-standing challenges for persons with disabilities to access adequate programs and benefits. The government’s response to what the community has long known is a commitment to establish a Canadian Disability Benefit.
What will it look like?
The details have not yet been released but the government has stated the Disability Benefit will be modelled after the Guaranteed Income Supplement for Seniors. That’s good news. This means the Disability Benefit will not be a simple one-time payout or top up but provide a regular long-term supplement to other (provincial) supports and act like a Universal Basic Income.
Anti-poverty advocates around the world have long promoted a Basic Income as an effective, efficient, transparent and non-paternalistic form of direct income support. Many countries have already implemented Basic Income strategies in various forms. There’s Canadian-made research demonstrating its effectiveness and Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Officer has said we can afford it. The federal Minister of Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough is also on record as supporting a Basic Income.
In other words, a Basic Income is a good thing – and long overdue. And it may be just what will bring so many Canadians with disabilities out of endless cycles of poverty.
What needs to happen now?
Achieving a Canadian Disability Benefit is an historic opportunity to end disability poverty. No other government in the world has made such a commitment. It will take a lot of work to turn that opportunity into a reality that is meaningful and inclusive. It will take widespread engagement by disabled people from every corner of the country. Including leadership from Quebec and those from racial minorities, the indigenous community, and those discriminated against because of age, race, colour, gender, and sexuality. It will also take widespread popular support from regular Canadians. Finally, it will take bold political decision making.
We can’t just sit back and celebrate. We need to get educated because the federal government is going to start working on the details of the Disability Benefit program soon. When they do, we want to be able to tell them what the disability community wants, how the Disability Benefit should be shaped and how it can best serve the interests of people who live the reality every day.
In response to this historic opportunity, we’ve put together a free, two-part webinar series to:
- Learn together about the many versions of Basic Income, what the research has demonstrated, where it has been implemented, what cost analyses show, what has worked and what hasn’t — and how this could inform the coming Canada Disability Benefit.
- Identify collaboratively what the key ingredients and “must-haves” are for a meaningful, inclusive Disability Benefit in order to eliminate poverty for all Canadians with disabilities and avoid the pitfalls of other previous disability programs and supports
- To learn from other successful movements
- To strengthen the social, political, economic and cultural power of the Canadian disability movement
- To clarify the role of parents, families, service providers, funders and other allies in supporting disability leadership
- To secure a Canadian Disability Benefit that is meaningful, inclusive and ends disability poverty
This webinar series is a collaboration between individuals, groups, coalitions and organizations from across Canada, without which this would not be possible.
Hosts: Rabia Khedr and Alexandra Creighton
- What can we learn from Basic Income to craft the Canada Disability Benefit?
- The Canada Disability Benefit We Want and Need
- The Power of New Forms of Democratic Engagement with Peter MacLeod
- The Power of Inclusive Design with Jutta Treviranus
- The Power of a Disability Media – Delyse Sylvester
- The Power of Working Together – Adam Kahane