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PRESS RELEASE: Budget 2024 Disappoints – Major Shortfalls in Canada Disability Benefit Funding & Eligibility

 

For Immediate Release
April 17, 2024



OTTAWA, ON – Inclusion Canada expresses profound disappointment over the inadequate funding allocated to the Canada Disability Benefit (CDB) in Budget 2024. The announced funding falls far short of what is necessary to fulfill the program’s primary objective: lifting people with disabilities out of poverty.

Budget 2024 announced funding of $6.1 billion over six years, beginning in

2024-25, and $1.4 billion annually ongoing, for a new Canada Disability Benefit. This will result in $2400/year or $200/month per person. Eligibility will be based on the Disability Tax Credit, with an estimated 600,000 people eligible. The program will only be fully implemented in 2028 at the $1.4 billion level.

Despite expectations, over 1.5 million Canadians with disabilities, including 75% of persons who have an intellectual disability living independently, continue to face deep poverty. This poverty is unchanged by the new budget. This budget leaves most of these individuals behind.

The passage of Bill C-22 was a monumental legislative victory, underscoring widespread bipartisan support and countless disability groups rallying behind the legislation. Despite this, the announced funding in Budget 2024 leaves people with disabilities feeling abandoned, and uncertain about their future.

“Our disappointment cannot be overstated,” admitted Krista Carr, Executive Vice President of Inclusion Canada, “A maximum benefit of $200/month or $6/day is inadequate. This benefit was supposed to lift persons with disabilities out of poverty, not merely make them marginally less poor than they already are.” said Carr.

The government’s insistence on using the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) program to determine eligibility is also deeply concerning. The DTC program currently excludes many individuals who face significant barriers to qualifying, meaning many people with disabilities who are currently in poverty would not get the benefit. The government must commit to a wholesale review and reform of the DTC problem in parallel with rolling out the benefit to maximize its impact.

Budget 2024’s financial commitment also fails to uphold the legislation instructing its creation.

“The legislation states that the government must consider the official poverty line and additional costs associated with living with a disability when determining the benefit,” commented Moira Wilson, President of Inclusion Canada, “What poverty line did they consider in their determination? This benefit fails to achieve what it is designed to do and will not bring people with intellectual disabilities out of poverty. We expected more from this budget, and our hope is fading.”

The clock is ticking louder than ever for Canadians with disabilities. Every day without an adequately funded Canada Disability Benefit is a missed opportunity to support people to live with dignity. We call on the government to announce enhanced investments in the next Fiscal Economic Statement (FES) to substantially increase this benefit and broaden the eligibility.

This is on Inclusion Canada website go to the link here

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