For Immediate Release
May 18, 2023
Lives at stake – Legislative clock running out for Bill C-22
(Toronto) – People with disabilities can’t wait! The Canada Disability Benefit will be a vital game-changer, and the need is urgent.
Debate on the Third Reading of Bill C-22 finished Wednesday, with a final vote today in the Senate. The Senate did its part to provide sober second thought, and it is the House of Common’s turn again to continue the spirit of unanimous consent demonstrated by all parties since the bill was introduced.
It’s been three years since the Throne Speech announcing the creation of a Canada Disability Benefit. Originally tabled as C-35 in 2021, it died on the Order paper before returning as Bill C-22, introduced almost a year ago, on June 2, 2022. During all this time, the financial security of people with disabilities has gotten worse.
Time is of the essence. “Bill C-22 must achieve Royal Assent before Parliament recesses later this June, otherwise no progress will be made until at least the Fall – potentially 6 months away at the earliest. Disabled people living in poverty simply cannot have anymore barriers put in their way,” Michelle Hewitt, Co-Chair of DWP states.
Rabia Khedr, National Director of DWP, reminds us that “Disability poverty is a national crisis that can no longer wait. Lives are at stake.”
Madeline has post viral syndrome, and has been approved for medical assistance in dying (MAiD) because she cannot afford the treatments she needs to keep her symptoms at bay. She reached out to us at this time to say, “I’m begging for the Canada Disability Benefit to be enacted ASAP because I want to live. I shouldn’t have to beg for my life on the internet via GoFundMe. People like me are suffering in truly unimaginable ways as we deteriorate into unnecessarily early and horrifying deaths. Please, I’m scared. I don’t want to die.” The Canada Disability Benefit is critical relief that many people with disabilities are counting on. Given that the Senate has chosen to return Bill C-22 to the House with amendments, we ask that time be found in the House calendar for the necessary statutory debates with haste. All elected officials are asked to make Bill C-22 a top priority to reach Royal Assent before June 23.