2023 disability poverty report card
A failing grade – I for incomplete
This is Disability Without Poverty‘s first annual report card. It looks at our government’s performance towards people with disabilities who live in poverty. We think that it is important for us to show the statistics and to combine them with real stories from people with disabilities who live in poverty.
Just like any report card, we have given the government a grade for their performance. We grade them as I for incomplete. We see there is a lack of support, a lack of progress, and there needs to be better data about the real experience of disability in Canada.
Here are some of the alarming conclusions from our report card:
- People with disabilities twice as likely to live in poverty than those without disability.
- During the pandemic, many disabled people did not benefit from new pandemic income programs, because of the barriers built into programs.
- Poverty rates dropped during the pandemic for everyone. However, Statistics Canada says that poverty rates are already rising again.
- We also looked at how deep poverty is. Although the amount changes each year, disabled people typically live 30% below the poverty line.
- Women with disabilities and people with disabilities who live alone have the highest rates of poverty.
- Over half a million disabled seniors live in poverty and nearly one million working aged people with disabilities live in poverty.
- People with the most severe disabilities live in the deepest poverty, and have very low income.
- All provincial disability payments are below the poverty line. Most are far below the poverty line.
- Data collection on people with disabilities who live in poverty is inadequate. It misses out many groups, including those who live in group homes and long-term care.
There are so many different programs for disabled people that it is described as a patchwork. However, patchwork often has holes, and people fall through the gaps. That needs to be fixed. The Canada Disability Benefit offers hope, but it’s still going to take a long time to get to disabled people. We do not know how much it will be or who will get it.
This report is about income. However, there are many other parts to disability poverty, such as accessible housing, treatments, health services and supports, care and child care, and employment. We must see changes to all of these areas before we can make a difference to disability poverty.
Most important is that disabled people are involved in the development of all plans that involve them – nothing about us without us.
We look forward to being able to grade the government’s performance again next year. We hope that we can give a higher grade than I for incomplete.