Disability Poverty: An Unacknowledged Reality

November 1, 2010

For Immediate Release

Can you imagine living on less than $10,000 a year? Many Canadians assume that people with disabilities are well provided for. Few, unless they have a family member with a disability, understand that disability and poverty are largely synonymous - disability can lead to poverty and poverty can lead to disability. Many a newly disabled Canadian has been shocked to learn that the average Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefit is only $810.70 a month and that is only if you meet stringent eligibility requirements. The myth of robust disability pensions means that:

  • Canadians who become disabled and unable to work are unprepared for the financial hardships which are ahead of them. 
  • Few beyond the disability community have been calling for social policy reform that would eradicate disability poverty.
  • Many born with disability live their whole lives in poverty, or long to become 65 because benefits are better for seniors.

In Ottawa, at a national forum called End Exclusion 2010, people with disabilities and their allies are challenging the myth that people with disabilities are "well taken care of in Canadian society." We are speaking out about the realities of living in poverty with a disability. People with disabilities, researchers and policy analysts will present new knowledge and policy alternatives to existing Canadian income security programs. End Exclusion is coordinated by the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) and Canada Without Poverty (CWP).

For the past two and a half years, CCD has been coordinating a research project, Disabling Poverty/Enabling Citizenship funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). This project brings together university-based social scientists and grassroots disability activists and their organizations to develop innovative policy models for addressing the poverty of Canadians with disabilities. End Exclusion 2010 is pleased to be launching one of these models – the Basic Income Plan for Canadians with Severe Disabilities – developed by Michael Mendelson, Ken Battle and Sherri Torjman of the Caledon Institute and Ernie Lightman of the University of Toronto.

Together we can create a more Inclusive and Accessible Canada


For More Information Contact:
Laurie Beachell, National Coordinator CCD – 204-981-6179 cell
Michael Bach, Executive Vice President CACL – 416-209-7942 cell
Rob Rainer, Executive Director CWP – 613-314-7755 cell