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29 April, 2022 / By: Disability Without Poverty

Press release: Disability and food justice organizations call for immediate tabling of Canada Disability Benefit

For Immediate Release

April 29, 2022

Between Life and Death: Disability Without Poverty calls on Government to table the Canada Disability Benefit immediately and demands all-party support

(Toronto) – We are at Day 36 and counting down to the summer break when Parliament rests, but poverty does not. Disabled Canadians are choosing to die because they cannot afford to live with dignity. People like Madeline are faced with this difficult choice every month. Some have even exercised their legal right to die because the system forces them to live in hardship.

“Simply put, our community requires the certainty that Canada Disability Benefit legislation will deliver once it is tabled and passed. As both March of Dimes Canada’s National Director of Public Affairs and as guardian for my brother, Graham – who lives on ODSP – I am constantly reminded of the immediate need for the federal government to follow through on its promise to lift people with disabilities out of the poverty so many face every day”, states Amanda MacKenzie.

“We have been asking people with disabilities to meet with their MPs, share their stories and ask about the bill. We are now going to ask all Canadians to write to their MPs – Bloc, Conservatives, Greens, NDP and Liberals – demanding they all work together and fast track this benefit,” states Rabia Khedr, Disability Without Poverty National Director.

“We call on the federal government to introduce the Canada Disability Act immediately,” says Nick Saul, CEO of Community Food Centres Canada. “We see too many people with disabilities at our centres facing the daily struggle between paying for housing, food and medication. Let’s act now to support people to live with dignity and in good health.”

“In the election campaign last fall, the Liberal Party promised to re-introduce the Canada Disability Benefit Act if re-elected.  L’Arche Canada joins all those urging the Liberal government to act quickly in keeping this promise.  Every day that Canadians with disabilities remain in poverty is one more day too many”, says John Rietschlin, National Board Chair, L’Arche Canada.

Michelle Hewitt, DWP Co-chair states, “People are losing faith in this promise made by Prime Minister Trudeau in the Throne speech of 2020. With inflation at 6.7% and no changes to current assistance programs forthcoming, the depth of the crisis for disabled people living in poverty is appalling. We know that 88% of all Canadians support lifting disabled people out of poverty. It’s time for our government to show by their actions that they believe in it too, and that they value all Canadians, especially disabled people, and their right to live without poverty, with dignity, independence, and autonomy.”

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