Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) Applauds PM’s Direction to Minister Qualtrough

Media Release

For Immediate Release | January 28, 2020

When crafting the Mandate Letter for the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, the Hon. Carla Qualtrough, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau included several issues that have been high on the Council of Canadians with Disabilities’ priority list for many years.

“I was particularly pleased to learn from the Letter that the Government of Canada plans to extend EI sickness benefits from 15 weeks to 26 weeks,” states John Rae, CCD’s 2nd Vice Chair and Chair of the CCD Social Policy Committee.  “We would have liked the extension to be for 50 weeks, as recommended by our Disabling Poverty, Enabling Citizenship research study, though this is an important recognition of the need to enhance EI sickness benefits,” continued Rae.  Extending the benefit could also assist people who have episodic disabilities, Canadians who are too often left out of coverage for government programs.

For many years, CCD has been supporting the introduction of a disability lens and it is welcome news that the Federal Government is beginning to embrace this concept as is signaled by the Prime Minister’s direction to “Conduct a comprehensive review to ensure a consistent approach to disability inclusion and supports across government that addresses the unfairness and inequities in government programs and services, and challenges the biases built into government processes. This includes a definition of disability consistent with the Accessible Canada Act.”

“A Disability Lens would be a major step in implementing the Accessible Canada Act,” said Rae, “an Act that is designed to remove existing barriers and prevent the introduction of new barriers.”

“The Prime Minister’s direction ‘to ensure a consistent approach to disability inclusion and supports across government’ is certainly in keeping with the Disabling Poverty, Enabling Citizenship study’s recommendation to harmonize the eligibility rules between the Disability Tax Credit and the Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefit, states Rae.  “CCD is eager to work with the federal government to address systemic discrimination in laws, policies and practices.”

The Disabling Poverty, Enabling Citizenship study was the result of a Community University Research Alliance project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and led by CCD. The principal researchers were Professor Michael J. Prince and Yvonne Peters.

About CCD

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


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.


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.

For More Information Contact:
John Rae, CCD 2nd Vice Chair and Chair of CCD Social Policy Committee
Tel: 416-941-1541