Throne Speech Unveils New Canadian Disability Benefit

  • October 9, 2020
  • BakerLaw
  • Comments Off on Throne Speech Unveils New Canadian Disability Benefit

Acknowledging that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected Canadians with disabilities, the federal government in its most recent throne speech unveiled its Disability Inclusion Plan. In addition to a robust employment strategy, the plan includes the development of a new Canadian Disability Benefit (CDB) modelled after the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

While the Council of Canadians with Disabilities has praised the government’s plan for “using a disability lens when developing its national work,” others have been critical of the CDB’s ability to support Canadians with disabilities. Of particular concern for John Stapleton, an Innovation Fellow with the Metcalf Foundation is the potential for a CDB modelled after the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) to exclude a large majority of Canadians with disabilities. Not only could a CDB based on the eligibility restrictions of GIS exclude sponsored immigrants and those with a mental illness, but the program is likely to also exclude a sizeable portion of disabled Canadians in receipt of government benefits. The unintended consequence, as Stapleton further suggests, is that the CDB “would largely help people with severe development and physical disabilities,” and create “a two-tier system divided along the lines of severity and disability type.”  You can read the full article link here.

To learn more about the CDB and other income initiatives aimed at supporting Canadians with disabilities please check-out the following links:

Open Policy Ontario presentations can be viewed here (link).

Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy reports can be viewed here (link).

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