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20 June, 2023

Press Release: An historic move: Parliament passes law to fight disability poverty

For Immediate Release

June 20, 2023

An historic move: Parliament passes law to fight disability poverty

(Toronto) – The promise of improved financial stability for people with disabilities living in poverty is now within reach as Bill C-22, also known as the Canada Disability Benefit, receives Royal Assent.

The Bill was approved by the House of Commons earlier this week and is now expected to be approved by the Senate later today or tomorrow and signed into law by the Governor General on Friday.

The Canada Disability Benefit Act will be a game changer for the 1.4 million people with disabilities living in poverty.

“It’s been a long journey. We are pleased that our Parliamentarians worked hard to get us to this point. People with disabilities now have a glimmer of hope for a better future. A little more money will help them buy food, over the counter medication and maybe even a hair cut,” says Rabia Khedr, National Director of Disability Without Poverty (DWP).

What began as a promise in the Speech from the Throne by the Prime Minister in September 2020, the Canada Disability Benefit became the purpose behind the launch of Disability Without Poverty, where we worked hard to mobilized people with disabilities and allies to help make the promise a reality.

Bill C-22 was officially tabled last year on June 2.  To encourage its passage through Parliament, we launched an open letter signed by over 200 prominent Canadians; an open letter signed by over 43 Senators; a Parliamentary e-petition sponsored by MP Mike Morrice and signed by 17,874 Canadians; we helped organize and promote a unanimous consent motion by MP Bonita Zarrillo and championed the work of Minister Carla Qualtrough. 

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Minister Carla Qualtrough, Senator Brent Cotter and MP Bonita Zarrillo, and many others, including the voices of disabled persons across the country, the Bill is schedule to receive Royal Assent this week.

The Canada Disability Benefit now has a one-year deadline for regulations to be delivered. This is a process that must involve people with disabilities. “Today, we celebrate. tomorrow, we start the hard work of mobilizing to ensure nothing about us without us during the regulation process,” says Michelle Hewitt, Chair of DWP.

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