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Joint Statement from National Disability Network’s Response to Budget 2024

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 18, 2024

Disability community underwhelmed and disappointed by investments in Budget 2024

Today, the National Disability Network expresses its disappointment in Budget 2024’s underwhelming investment of $6 a day for people with disabilities. Tuesday’s budget announced funding for the Canada Disability Benefit—a maximum annual amount of $2,400 or $200 per month.

The National Disability Network had advocated for an adequate investment to the Canada Disability Benefit based on the recommendations proposed by the Parliamentary Budget Office. Reaction from the disability community has been unanimous that this initial investment creates little impact for removing people with disabilities from poverty. It does not consider the official poverty line nor the unique costs of living as a person with a disability. It simply is not enough.

The language within the budget document identifies the maximum monthly amount and eligibility criteria, which are required to be developed through the regulatory process. These specific programmatic details were announced without consultation of the disability community and do not align with the principle of “nothing about us, without us.” This announcement does not fulfill any real consultation that is required by legislation to develop the regulations with the disability community.

The National Disability Network agrees with the federal government that no provincial government clawback any amount of the Canada Disability Benefit and calls on the federal, provincial, and territorial governments to work collaboratively with the disability community on this matter. Additionally, the National Disability Network is concerned that the identified eligibility route for the Canada Disability Benefit – is to be through the Disability Tax Credit. We call on the government to expand eligibility through the regulatory development process as well as a full review and reform of the Disability Tax Credit program.As we promised in our Joint Statement on the Passage of Bill C-22, we will continue to keep the federal government’s feet to the fire to deliver on the promise of the Canada Disability Benefit. The National Disability Network strongly calls on the federal government to build on this initial investment and enhance the annual and monthly amount eligible to recipients. Further, we call on the federal government to implement this change by the 2024 Fall Economic Statement, at the latest.

While Budget 2024 does take a step towards funding the Canada Disability Benefit, the monthly amount is not adequate and will not succeed in the goal of removing people with disabilities from poverty. Time is of the essence to amend the federal government’s approach and enable financial independence for the disability community.

About the Canada Disability Benefit Act

The Canada Disability Benefit Act establishes a new government benefit for people with disabilities to “reduce poverty and to support the financial security of working-age persons with disabilities”. The legislation requires that the amount of the benefit must consider Canada’s official poverty line, the additional costs associated with living with a disability, the challenges that people with disabilities face in earning an income from work, as well as an intersectional approach and Canada’ international human rights obligations.

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