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Federal Election 2021

5 September, 2021

Party platforms and disability

Bloc Quebecois

There is no specific referenced to disability supports. There might be some benefit to the disability community under healthcare related policies.

Conservative Party of Canada

Breaking Down Barriers for Canadians Living with Disabilities (page 135)

One in five Canadians lives with a disability. They need our support – to live full lives and participate fully in society, including in the workforce. Canada’s Conservatives have a plan to break down the barriers faced by Canadians living with disabilities.

Doubling Disability Support in the Canada Workers Benefit

A disproportionate number of disabled Canadians are working part-time or for low wages. Canada’s Conservatives will double the Disability Supplement in the Canada Workers Benefit from $713 to $1,500, providing a major boost to lower-income disabled Canadians on top of our increase in the Canada Workers Benefit. The most help will go to families where one member has a disability. We will help them achieve the security and financial independence they deserve.

Making it Easier to Qualify for the Disability Tax Credit and Registered Disability Savings Plan (page 136)

To give more Canadians with disabilities access to financial support, we will reduce the number of hours required to qualify for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) and the Registered Disability Savings Plan from 14 to 10 hours per week.

In 2017, Justin Trudeau took away the support that thousands of Canadians relied on when he changed how Canadians qualify for the Disability Tax Credit and the Registered Disability Savings Plan. To some, this credit was worth thousands of dollars. Conservatives joined diabetes advocates to successfully fight back against this tax grab.

Our changes will save a disabled person made eligible for the tax credit or their family an average of $2,100 per year. Making it easier to qualify for the tax credit will also make it easier to qualify for the RDSP, which provides up to $3,500 per year in matching grants for Canadians with disabilities.

Green Party

(Page 75 and 76)

People with Disabilities It is time for every person in Canada with disabilities to be able to live with dignity. Canadians with disabilities and their families have suffered disproportionately during the pandemic.

There has been an erosion of mental health and confidence in public institutions for people with disabilities, leading to vaccine hesitancy. Even prior to the pandemic, people with disabilities lived with disproportionate levels of poverty and exclusion. As we continue to observe during the pandemic, the introduction of basic income support has significantly improved peoples’ ability to sustain themselves.

A Guaranteed Livable Income would best provide the support that Canadians with disabilities desperately need. This program is a floor for the access to resources for people with disabilities; it is not a ceiling. With additional programs to break down barriers, people with disabilities will have every right to be full, equal partners in Canadian society. 

A Green government will: 

  • Work to create a Canada Disabilities Act (CDA) to express Canadians’ vision of a more equitable society rather than the current confusion resulting from the multiplicity of acts, standards, policies, and programs that prevail. 
  • Support a national equipment fund to provide equipment such as wheelchairs and accessibility tools to assist persons with disabilities with the tools needed to fully participate in work and community life (This can be a joint program with provinces – the concern is equal access and common standards). 
  • Invest in social housing adapted as necessary to meet particular needs, with both rental and purchase options. 
  • Provide federal health transfer payments to provinces and territories directed to rehabilitation for those who have become disabled, e.g. loss of limbs etc. 
  • Enforce the Employment Equity Act to ensure that persons with disabilities have equal opportunity to long-term employment and advancement. People with disabilities are generally the last to find employment and the first to be laid off. 
  • Institute a Guaranteed Liveable Income for people living with disabilities so that none live in poverty. 
  • Convert the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) to a refundable credit. 
  • Redesign the Canada Pension Plan/Disability Benefit (CPP/D) test to incorporate the DTC definition of disability and permit employment.

Liberal Party of Canada

Support for Canadians with Disabilities (pages 38-39)

Over the past six years we’ve made accessibility and disability inclusion a priority. We have focused on removing barriers and addressing disability discrimination and exclusion and forge new opportunities for Canadians with disabilities to work, contribute to their communities, and enjoy the same quality of life all Canadians deserve. Introduce a Disability Benefit Over 1 million Canadians with disabilities live in poverty. People with disabilities have a higher rate of unemployment, and those with more severe disabilities had an after-tax income of just $12,520, well below the poverty line. Furthermore, the costs of specialized equipment, custom supports for cars or homes, and medical procedures adds to the financial burdens of Canadians with disabilities.

A re-elected Liberal government will:

  • Re-introduce a Disability Benefit Act which will create a direct monthly payment, the Canada Disability Benefit, for low-income Canadians with disabilities ages 18-64. Once implemented this new benefit will reduce poverty among persons with disabilities in the same manner as the Guaranteed Income Supplement and the Canada Child Benefit.

Disability Statement (pages 81-82)

Disability inclusion benefits everyone. When Canadians with disabilities have equal opportunities to contribute to their communities, to have the same quality of service from their government, to work, and to enjoy the same quality of life and choices as everyone else, we build a stronger economy—and a stronger country.

Over the past six years, we’ve made accessibility and disability inclusion a priority. We have moved to a human rights-based approach to disability inclusion and are moving away from the medical and charity models, to a social model of disability and a focus on poverty reduction. We have focused on removing barriers and addressing disability discrimination and exclusion in our systems and processes. And, in the spirit of “Nothing Without Us,” we have a plan to move forward with historic investments and actions that will improve the social and economic inclusion of millions of Canadians.

In 2015, we appointed Canada’s first ever Minister responsible for Canadians with Disabilities/Accessibility (now Disability Inclusion). In 2016, we increased access to alternate format material, including the ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty. From 2016 to 2019, we held landmark consultations and passed the Accessible Canada Act. In 2019 we, established Accessible Standards Canada.

We made investments in successive economic statements and budgets, in disability-specific programs, including the Opportunities Fund, the Enabling Accessibility Fund, Canada Student Loans and Canada Student Grants, and the expansion of the Disability Tax Credit. We applied a disability lens to our flagship policies and programs, such as the historic investment in inclusive and accessible $10- a-day child care. We addressed the financial security of Canadians with disabilities through important changes to the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP). We adhered to our international human rights obligations: we signed the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and appointed the Canadian Human Rights Commission to monitor the UNCRPD. We announced a Canadian candidate for the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2022 election.

Last fall, we committed to the creation of the Disability Inclusion Plan, to include a new Canada Disability Benefit modelled after the Guaranteed Income Supplement, improved processes for eligibility for federal disability programs and benefits, and a robust employment strategy for Canadians with disabilities. In June 2021, we tabled Bill C-35, setting out the framework for the creation of the Canada Disability Benefit, a direct monthly payment to low-income Canadians with disabilities ages 18-64.

In recognition of the fact that Canadians with disabilities were disproportionately affected by the health, social, and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we took a disability-inclusive approach in our pandemic response. We appointed the COVID-19 Disability Advisory Group, provided targeted funding for seniors and students with disabilities, and issued a one-time payment to persons with disabilities to help mitigate the economic shock of the pandemic.

Moving forward, there is much more work to be done. A re-elected Liberal government will build on our previous investments through the implementation of the first-ever Disability Inclusion Action Plan, in consultation with the disability community.

 The objectives of the Disability Inclusion Action Plan are to:

  • Improve the social and economic inclusion of Canadians with disabilities.
  • Reduce poverty among Canadians with disabilities.
  • Contribute to the realization of a barrier-free Canada.
  • Improve access to federal programs and services for persons with disabilities and ensure that disability inclusion is considered in all government programs, policies, and services.
  • Foster a culture of inclusion and a shift away from attitudes of disablism and discrimination.

As part of our Disability Inclusion Action Plan, a re-elected Liberal government will re-introduce and implement the Canada Disability Benefit Act, which will create a direct monthly payment for low-income Canadians with disabilities ages 18-64. This will reduce poverty amongst persons with disabilities in the same way the Guaranteed Income Supplement and the Canada Child Benefit have reduced poverty among seniors and families with children.

A Liberal Government will also develop and implement an employment strategy focused on supports for workers and employers, creating inclusive and welcoming workplaces, and building business disability confidence.

This strategy will include an investment in the Opportunities Fund and the Ready Willing and Able inclusive hiring program to support employment for persons with disabilities.

We will also commit to making permanent funding to support services that ensure equitable access to reading and other published works for Canadians with print disabilities so that more Canadians are able to fully participate in these activities.

We will proceed with the timely and ambitious implementation of the Accessible Canada Act and the harmonization of accessibility standards across Canada. We will work across federal departments and agencies to uniformly adopt the definition of “disability” in the Accessible Canada Act. We will adopt a consistent approach to disability inclusion across the federal government. We will put a disability lens on decision making. This will specifically include our child care and infrastructure commitments. We will assume a more prominent role within the international disability inclusion community.

Only a re-elected Liberal government will build on the foundational work to date to support persons with disabilities in the post-pandemic recovery, by continuing to build back better, for everyone.

New Democratic Party of Canada

Removing barriers for persons living with disabilities (page 62)

We can do much more to make Canada an inclusive and barrier-free place. As a start, New Democrats will uphold the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and strengthen the Accessibility Act to cover all federal agencies equally, with the power to make and enforce accessibility standards in a timely manner.

To help tackle the unacceptable rate of poverty among Canadians living with a disability and ensure that everyone has the chance to thrive and live in dignity, we will expand income security programs to ensure Canadians living with a disability have a guaranteed livable income. While the Liberal government spends years talking about a new federal disability benefit, New Democrats will get to work immediately to deliver it.

When it comes to employment, everyone deserves a fair shot at a good job that fits their unique abilities. A New Democrat government will continue and expand employment programs to make sure that quality employment opportunities are available to all.

For Canadians facing a serious illness, we’ll make Employment Insurance work better by extending sickness benefits to 50 weeks of coverage, and creating a pilot project to allow workers with episodic disabilities to access benefits as they need them.

Canadians living with disabilities shouldn’t need to worry about the cost of prescription medication, dental work, how to find housing, or how to get their mail. In addition to putting in place a universal, publicly funded national pharmacare and dental care program that will offer full benefits to all Canadians, a New Democrat government will restore door-to door mail delivery for those who lost it under the Conservatives, and create affordable, accessible housing in communities across the country.

Finally, we will work with Autistic Canadians to develop and implement a national Autism strategy that will coordinate support for research, ensure access to needs-based services, promote employment, and help expand housing options.

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