The Wait Continues for a National Disability Benefit, CCD States after Release of Budget 2021

April 20, 2021 - The Government of Canada did not forget people with disabilities in Budget 2021, including measures to improve our socio-economic position.  The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) notes some of its longstanding recommendations were addressed. 

Significantly, the Federal Government is moving forward on its Throne Speech commitment to create a national disability benefit, called for by the disability community.  Budget 2021 proposed to “…provide $11.9 million over three years … to undertake consultations to reform the eligibility process for federal disability programs and benefits” as a first step in designing the new disability benefit.

“It is good news the national disability benefit has not fallen off the Government’s radar as people with disabilities face a disproportionate level of poverty,” states Jewelles Smith, CCD Communications & Government Relations Coordinator.  “However, our community often feels that we are in an endless consultation loop so we would have liked Minister Freeland to make a commitment on when the benefit is to be up and running.”  “We always seem to be a community in waiting,” added Smith.

The Federal Government expanded access to the Disability Tax Credit, with reforms to make an additional 45,000 people eligible. “CCD is pleased the Government is implementing recommendations made by CRA’s Disability Advisory Committee, which includes experts from the disability community,” stated Heather Walkus, 1st Vice Chair.

The Budget proposed to improve accessibility through an investment in the Enabling Accessibility Fund of $100 million over two years starting in 2021-22.  “This shows Canada continues to fulfill the commitments made on accessibility when it ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD),” stated Walkus.

CCD applauds the Budget announcement to increase the EI Sickness Benefit from 15 to 26 weeks. “CCD has been calling for a longer Sickness Benefit since 2014,” stated Walkus.

“While a program for high cost drugs for rare diseases is important, it was nevertheless a big disappointment we did not see more progress on a national pharmacare program for all,” stated Walkus.  “Some of us have to choose between buying food or medications.”

CCD will be working with the Government of Canada to ensure that the Budget’s measures are implemented in a manner consistent with the UNCRPD.


For more information contact:
Jewelles Smith, Communications & Government Relations Coordinator, Email:
Heather Walkus, 1st Vice Chair, email:

About CCD

CCD is a national human rights organization of people with disabilities working for an inclusive and accessible Canada.

Mission: The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) is a social justice organization of people with all disabilities that champions the voices of people with disabilities, advocating an inclusive and accessible Canada, where people with disabilities have full realization of their human rights, as described in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Mandate: The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) unites advocacy organizations of people with disabilities to defend and extend human rights for persons with disabilities through public education, advocacy, intervention in litigation, research, consultation and partnerships.  CCD amplifies the expertise of our partners by acting as a convening body and consensus builder.