Trudeau Government Headed in the Right Direction with Budget 2016

March 23, 2016

For Immediate Release

The Council of Canadians with Disabilities commends the Liberal Government for fulfilling its election promise to renew the Court Challenges Program (CCP).  “During the campaign, CCD challenged the leaders of all parties to restore funding to the CCP, which had been de-funded by the previous government, and the Government has delivered, committing $12 million in new funding over five years for the CCP,” states Tony Dolan, CCD Chairperson.  CCD, a national organization of people with disabilities working for an accessible and inclusive Canada, accessed CCP funding to ensure VIA Rail did not create new barriers to the mobility of persons with disabilities by putting inaccessible passenger rail cars into service.

Another Liberal election promise was legislation to eliminate barriers and promote the equality of persons with disabilities and the budget committed $2 million over two years to consult provinces, territories, municipalities and stakeholders about a Canadians with Disabilities Act. “CCD welcomes the inclusion of provinces, territories, and municipalities, as well as persons with disabilities and our organizations, in the consultation plans, because all levels of government have a role to pay in barrier removal,” states John Rae, Second Vice Chair.  “We view a national disability act as an opportunity to achieve domestic implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” continued Rae.

“Of course, there were some disappointments,” admitted Dolan. “We had hoped that the new Government would announce some bold measures to alleviate disability poverty.”  Through our research project, Disabling Poverty, Enabling Citizenship, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, we learned that:

  • Throughout the working years (15-64 years of age) people with disabilities remain about twice as likely as those without disabilities to live with low income.  People with disabilities are much less likely than people without to have jobs. Even where employed, people with disabilities are 1.5 times more likely than people without to live with low income.
  •  Among working-age women with disabilities who live in low income households, half (49.5%) received social assistance in the past 12 months compared with fewer than one in ten (8.6%) whose household income was above the LICO [Low-Income Cut-Off].

Due to the fact that they experience multiple forms of discrimination, women and girls with disabilities face increased social and economic vulnerability.

Admittedly, the Child Disability Tax Benefit was increased and there was additional investment in a youth employment strategy, which mentioned youth with disability, but these measures are not focused on improving the situation of impoverished women and men living with disability.  As a first step toward addressing disability poverty, CCD has called for the conversion of the existing Disability Tax Credit (DTC) to a refundable credit.  This would put an extra $2,000 per year in the pockets of eligible Canadians with disabilities. A refundable DTC would provide people with disabilities living on very low incomes additional funds that they could put toward the extra costs associated with disability, such as purchasing modified clothing, replacing technical aids that wear out.  Throughout the life of this government, CCD will be advancing measures, such as the refundable DTC, designed to improve the social and economic conditions of people with disabilities, particularly women and girls with disabilities and others facing multiple forms of discrimination.


For more information contact:

Tony Dolan, 902-569-2817

John Rae, 416-941-1547