March 21, 2023
The Senate of Canada
Ottawa, Ontario Canada K1A 0A4
We are writing to you as a collective of stakeholder organizations and people with disabilities in support of Bill C-22, the Canada Disability Benefit Act. We thank you for your thoughtful debate and consideration of this vital legislation at this important stage in the process. We are asking you to work together to keep up the momentum on Bill C-22, making its passage a priority before the end of the current sitting period, without unnecessary delay or amendments.
The organizations represented here are large and small, local, regional and national, and represent a broad spectrum of the diverse disability community in Canada. The organizations and individuals signing this letter are from all across Canada. We are united in our support for moving Bill C-22 forward quickly as framework legislation that will enable a robust and consultative regulatory development process.
As you know, the urgent income insecurity and affordability crisis facing millions of people with disabilities in Canada, exacerbated by the impact of high inflation on the price of basic goods, makes the passage of this legislation quickly through the process a critical and time-sensitive priority. On January 17, 2022, nearly half of all Senators signed an open letter to the Prime Minister and Cabinet to this effect, calling for the urgent adoption of Bill C-22. We are once again seeking the Senate’s recognition of this urgency.
On February 2, 2023, Bill C-22 was passed in the House of Commons with unanimous support. The House Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA) received over 150 submissions and strengthened Bill C-22 in the spirit of “Nothing About Us, Without Us”. We ask you to keep this principle top of mind as you consider Bill C-22.
We are comfortable and confident the amendments introduced in the House of Commons provide the necessary guardrails to ensure the Canada Disability Benefit will be co-created with members of the disability community in a timely fashion. These include:
- The stipulation that the benefit amount must take into consideration the Official Poverty Line and establishing timelines for the development of regulations.
- The requirement that the regulatory development and design process provide persons with disabilities from a range of backgrounds with meaningful and barrier-free opportunities to collaborate.
- An established timetable to ensure regulations are developed within a reasonable timeframe following Royal Assent.
We believe these processes will be undertaken in good faith by government, stakeholders and people with disabilities. We are looking forward to seizing this historic opportunity for an accessible and inclusive regulations development process, giving people with disabilities the voice they need, want and deserve in the design and implementation of an income supplement to end disability poverty. We are prepared and ready to work with the government in this collaborative regulatory process.
We recognize that Senators must carefully and thoughtfully consider each piece of legislation. Given our desire to see the legislation passed in the Senate and referred to Governor General Simon for Royal Assent before the end of the sitting period, time is of the essence. Our community simply cannot wait as another legislative session passes by.
We would appreciate receiving a reply before March 31, 2023. Our collective would be pleased to speak with Senators at their convenience to discuss the urgency to pass C-22.