What is the Canada Disability Benefit?
This summer, long awaited legislation that commits the federal government to income support for low-income, working-age Canadians living with disabilities was passed through Parliament.
Bill C-22, The Canada Disability Benefit Act (CDB), is a welcome addition to Canada’s social safety net as Canadians face a historically high cost of living and an affordable housing crisis, and Canadians living with disabilities face additional costs and barriers that contribute to disproportionately higher poverty rates, such as unfunded healthcare expenses, special diets, higher transportation costs, among many others. But for people living with disabilities to have money in their pockets at a time when they need it more than ever, the government needs to work with the disability community to ensure the program is adequate and barrier-free. And they need to act quickly.
Food insecurity and living with a disability
Food bank visits have increased at an unprecedented rate year over year, up 32% across Canada in the past year. With 1 in 3 food bank clients in Toronto reporting a disability or health condition that is expected to last a year or more, these Canadians are disproportionately impacted by food insecurity while also facing rising costs across housing and other basic living expenses, compounded by the additional expenses associated with living with a disability. Research shows that income supports like the CDB can reduce the severity of food insecurity, going a long way in ensuring people can meet their basic needs.
How can we make sure the Canada Disability Benefit helps Canadians who need it?
People with disabilities should be able to live a life of dignity where they can afford the most basic human needs. With the promise of the Canada Disability Benefit, there is the potential for immense impact on poverty and food insecurity in Canada. But to make these impacts a reality, the Government of Canada must act urgently to allocate the funding and get it into the pockets of the Canadians who need it.
To lift Canadians living with disabilities out of poverty, the CDB must get money into the hands of people living with disabilities immediately and must be fully funded. The benefit must be designed in a way that ensures adequate support for individuals that accounts for additional costs associated with living with a disability, ensures no claw backs in support from other programs, is equitable, inclusive of the diversity needs of people with disabilities, and is accessible to those who need it.
Send a letter today!
Use your voice to tell your MP to fully fund the Canada Disability Benefit.