For Immediate Release
September 19, 2022
Disability Without Poverty calls on Parliament to fast-track Bill C-22
(Toronto) – A Good Life, Not Assisted Death: Disabled People Call on Parliament to Fast-track Bill C-22, the Canada Disability Benefit, this Tuesday!
Disability Without Poverty (DWP), a national grassroots movement of people with disabilities, is pleased that when Parliament returns, the first order of business on Tuesday, September 20 is the second reading of Bill C-22, the proposed Canada Disability Benefit (CDB) Act, led by Minister Carla Qualtrough.
This framework legislation charges the bureaucracy with the task to finalize regulations to implement an income supplement for people with disabilities living in poverty, and DWP wants this fast-tracked.
Poverty is often invisible or something Canadians view as a problem in foreign countries. Michelle Hewitt, an academic who lives with MS, co-chairs DWP and hears many stories of people struggling to make ends meet, wondering if assisted dying is the answer. “We have a crisis of poverty in this country. Over 41% of people impacted are people with disabilities. This cannot be ignored anymore in a country like ours,” she states.
Rabia Khedr, National Director of DWP, who is blind and has siblings with disabilities, recalls a recent interaction which really hit home for her as a human rights advocate. W approached her in his wheelchair asking if she and her friend could buy him the chicken wings special from Costco in exchange for his bus tickets. She felt angry at the situation because all he wanted was a meal that he could not afford while everyone was buying food in bulk. I implore all MPs to put their partisanship aside, forget political posturing and performative tactics. Please fast-track this benefit into law, and give people with disabilities the money they need for things we take for granted like over the counter pain medication and food.”
Luca Patuelli, also known as Lazylegz, a dancer with a disability and DWP co-chair reminds us, “Everyone wants a feeling of independence, whether it’s through working and/or feeling productive. Some may need accommodations. For example, some people cannot work enough hours or at all because of their disability, and some do not understand the concept of work because of their disability. However, everyone deserves to live with dignity.”
“Everyone should be able to pay for their basic needs through employment or business. When they can’t, the system should help. People living in poverty will spend all the money they have on what they need, not save it and get rich or something. The poverty lines across the country are over $2,000 and provincial incomes are well below that. We are happy that this bill is finally in Parliament. Let’s finish with it so that people can have the CDB by 2023,” says Guillaume Parent, DWP Leadership group member and Director of Finautonome’s Finance & Handicap Expertise Centre.