We were busy trying our best to get the attention of our nation’s top decision-makers. Our delegation of ten people were in Ottawa October 17 to 19 to meet with representatives from all parties, including MPs, Senators, as well as opposition critics. The goal was to go in small groups to meet MPs and Senators in their offices to tell them about our position on Bill C-22, what we want, as well as to respond to their questions and concerns.
October 17 was the International Day to Eradicate poverty and we wanted to spotlight disability poverty given that 41% of people living in poverty are disabled and 50% of people facing food insecurity are disabled.
Monday, we organized a reception where Minister Carla Qualtrough came and spoke, as did critics from all parties. Stephanie Kusie (CPC), Bonita Zarrillo (NDP), Louise Chabot (BQ) and Mike Morrice (Green) offered their support for ending disability poverty. Bill C-22 was moved up for debate to that afternoon instead of on Tuesday as originally scheduled. As a result, the debate finished on Monday evening during the reception and the vote for Second Reading was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
Tuesday, Bill C-22 passed Second Reading with a unanimous vote. Every single member of Parliament showed support for the proposed Canada Disability Benefit to move to the next step. This spirit of collaboration among all the parties needs to be celebrated and sustained! The bill is now at the committee stage, where MPs on the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA) will study the Bill and hear from witnesses, people with disabilities, disability groups and other groups.
Wednesday, we hosted our #CDBBy23 rally on Parliament Hill, with speakers such as Quinn and Margaux coming from as far away as Saskatchewan and BC! The rally had a good turn-out, with speeches from most of the same MPs who were present at our reception earlier in the week. Some of our partners at the rally included March Of Dimes Canada, Canadian Labour Congress, Community Food Centres of Canada, and United Way Centraide Canada. The MS Society of Canada, Inclusion Canada, and Imagine Canada also attended.
We gratefully acknowledge that the work we have been doing in 2022 would not be possible without the support of McConnell Foundation, Maytree Foundation, Toronto Foundation, Hamilton Community Foundation, Calgary Foundation, Vancouver Foundation and more recently, United Way Centraide Canada and Maple Leaf Centre for Food Security. We also appreciate the contributions of the Canadian Labour Congress and United Food and Commercial Workers union.