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14 June, 2024

Statement on federal NDP private member’s bill

For Immediate Release

June 13, 2024

Disability Without Poverty welcomes federal NDP private member’s bill to reduce red tape in the Disability Tax Credit process

(Toronto) – Disability Without Poverty (DWP) applauds the new federal NDP private members bill, tabled Thursday, which will pave the way for more Canadians with disabilities to be eligible for the Canada Disability Benefit, among other benefits. 

DWP has long called for dramatic reform of the DTC and has been working with federal and provincial/territorial Ministers to enhance cooperation of disability benefits.

The NDP bill, if passed, will allow automatic qualification for the federal Disability Tax Credit (DTC) for any person already eligible at the provincial level for a disability tax credit, pension or benefit.  Currently, these are separate and onerous processes and unnecessarily burden disabled persons in Canada from benefits designed to keep them from poverty. 

The transformation of the DTC is critical – especially now.

The DTC is a gateway to securing the new federal Canada Disability Benefit, approved by Parliament in 2023 and included in the 2024 federal budget, as a monthly $200 benefit for low-income Canadians previously approved by the DTC. No DTC, no benefit, even if a person is already approved for disability benefits provincially.

“The DTC has barred many Canadians with disabilities from the supports designed to help them,” says Rabia Khedr, National Director of DWP, a Canadian grassroots movement led by people with disabilities who have long advocated for a federal role in ending the cycle of poverty for disabled Canadians. 

“We have had excellent conversations with provincial politicians, particularly Minister Malcolmson in British Columbia,” says Michelle Hewitt, Chair of DWP, “about the need to make the process for DTC enrolment as streamlined as possible by automatically enrolling those people on provincial disability assistance.” 

“We are hopeful that Ontario will also lead the way on sharing data with the federal government in the mission toward red tape reduction since a new Minister was given this portfolio in the latest cabinet shuffle,” says Khedr.

“If the Canada Disability Benefit is actually going to benefit disabled people living in poverty, we have to increase DTC enrolment; we have to use methods that get to the maximum number of people as quickly as possible, not creating more hoops for people to jump through,” says Hewitt.

Despite the fact that the DTC is a gateway to other benefits, it has long been hampered by dismally low uptake and burdensome bureaucracy. 

In fact, a recent report from Canada Revenue Agency’s own Disability Advisory Committee highlights the many ways the DTC has been failing disabled Canadians – and has called for urgent reform.

“It’s time to cut the red tape and make all provincial/territorial and federal disability benefits flow easily to the people who need them.  The NDP private members bill is a step in the right direction.  We are glad they heard us.  We hope it will receive cross-partisan support like the Canada Disability Benefit Act did,” says Khedr.

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