Toronto – August 16, 2023 – This past June, the disability community celebrated when Bill C-22 received royal assent. Bill C-22 will establish the new Canada Disability Benefit.
The benefit, the first of its kind at the federal level, will provide financial support to low-income working-age persons with disabilities. It is the culmination of years of activism demanding this change. However, there’s work to do before the benefit becomes a reality for Canadians living with disability.
People with disabilities make up over 41% of people living in poverty and over 50% of people who are food insecure. One in four people with disabilities lives in poverty.
UFCW Canada sat down with Rabia Khedr, National Director of Disability Without Poverty to discuss the passage of the bill and what the next steps need to be.
The Canada Disability Benefit is designed to be a top-up to existing provincial benefits, but there’s concerns that provinces might try to claw back existing benefits.
“It's our job now to organize province by province to make sure that our provincial governments honor the top up nature of this benefit and don't claw back and also live up to their responsibility of their provincial programs and service and benefits,” explains Khedr.
In addition, the bill hasn’t been included in the Federal Budget. Disability activists are pushing the Minister of Finance to #BudgettheBenefit. “Our job is just to keep reminding finance that this needs to be budgeted and it better be adequate,” says Khedr. “And we will keep pushing for an accelerated timeline so that they at least meet a decent timeline.”
You can join Disability Without Poverty’s postcard campaign to Budget The Benefit here.
“Ending disability, poverty is the right thing to do. We're on the brink of doing the right thing in the right way,” says Khedr. “The only way we're going to ensure an adequate benefit is if every one of us stands up for the rights of people with disabilities living in poverty to be lifted out.”
View the full interview with Khedr below.