The federal government has reintroduced legislation to implement a direct payment program for low-income Canadians who live with disabilities.
Bill C-22, tabled on Thursday by Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough, contained no details as to the eligibility criteria, the amount provided or how the disability benefit would be indexed to inflation, leaving all those details to regulations to be set later.
Last June the government introduced Bill C-35, the Canada Disability Benefit Act, to create a disability benefit program that, according to an Employment and Social Development Canada release, would “supplement, not replace, existing federal and provincial-territorial supports.” However, the bill died once the 2021 federal election was called.
The Liberal government first promised in the 2020 throne speech to introduce a disability benefit modelled on the guaranteed income supplement, and the proposal was included in the 2021 federal budget. The Liberals’ 2021 campaign platform included a promise to create a disability benefit, structured as a monthly payment, to reduce poverty among people with disabilities between the ages of 18-64.
Disability Tax Credit change
Earlier this week, the Federal Standing Committee on Finance passed a motion to amend Bill C-19, the Budget Implementation Act, removing the requirement that Canadians living with Type 1 diabetes meet the 14-hour criteria under life-sustaining therapy to qualify for the Disability Tax Credit.
Bill C-19 expands eligibility under the life-sustaining therapy category for the Disability Tax Credit, a proposal included in the 2021 federal budget.
According to a release from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the committee’s proposed amendment to the Bill C-19 would “ensure all Canadians living with type 1 diabetes can access the [disability] tax credit and ease the financial burden caused by unavoidable and necessary life-saving expenses.”
Bill C-19 will now move to third reading in the House of Commons where MPs will vote on the committee’s amendments.