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18 April, 2024

Press release: DWP recognizes historic federal disability benefit in the BudgetPress release:

For Immediate Release

Media Advisory

April 16, 2024

Disability Without Poverty recognizes historic federal disability benefit in the Budget

Canada Disability Benefit will transform the lives of a few disabled Canadians while many disabled Canadians lose hope

(Ottawa): Disability Without Poverty (DWP) witnesses the historic decision to fund the Canada Disability Benefit (CDB) in today’s federal budget — at long last. But it’s too little for too few. 

The federal budget outlines a number of key features of the CDB – a maximum annual benefit of $2400 and a process of eligibility through the Disability Tax Credit (DTC).

Forty-one per cent of low-income Canadians are disabled and 16.5 per cent of disabled people in Canada live in poverty – that’s more than 1.5 million people. 

The CDB was proposed by the Liberal government several years ago in response to grassroots advocacy from disabled Canadians and approved in legislation with cross-party support last year.  But the $6.1 billion budget over six years now specified and set to roll out to eligible disabled Canadians by July 2025 falls short as an essential economic benefit to help pull them out of poverty. 

“The CDB was meant to offer real hope,” says Rabia Khedr, the National Director of DWP, who was invited to the budget lockdown to hear the landmark news. “But getting the CDB approved by Parliament and now, nominally funded, are two major hurdles leaving much more work to do.”

“If budgeted adequately, the CDB would lift disabled people above the poverty line, restore their dignity and give them more autonomy,” says Michelle Hewitt, DWP Chair. 

“Some Canadians with disabilities will be able to access a bit more money, but they will not find themselves to the poverty line,” she adds.

DWP is an independently funded, non-profit, grassroots organization led by disabled people to end disability poverty in Canada.  DWP has advocated tirelessly for a CDB for many years, including a recent campaign that saw over 200,000 letters sent to Parliament in support of the CDB. 

Last week, DWP along with Daily Bread Food Bank partnered with Angus Reid to undertake a survey that found Canadians overwhelming support a CDB (91 per cent) but feel the federal government is moving too slowly to enact the benefit (seven in 10 Canadians).

“The CDB is a transforming opportunity for disabled people.  Disability brings many additional living expenses, and these extra costs can push individuals further and further into poverty or prevent them from ever escaping it.  The CDB – if done properly — could be a lifeline.”

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