Federal Poverty Reduction Plan: Working in Partnership Towards Reducing Poverty in Canada

29 November 2010

Candice Hoeppner, Chairperson
Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6

Dear Ms. Hoeppner:

The Council of Canadians with Disabilities, a national human rights organization of people with disabilities, thanks you for your contribution to the report, "Federal Poverty Reduction Plan: Working in Partnership Towards Reducing Poverty in Canada". The committee members are to be commended for releasing such a comprehensive report, based upon a human rights model, which has taken into account the needs of a diverse range of Canadians who live in poverty, including people with disabilities.

CCD was pleased the Committee followed the social model of disability when formulating its disability recommendations. Thus we see a range of recommendations geared toward lessening the barriers in various environments navigated by Canadians with disabilities. If implemented, these recommendations will advance the access and inclusion of persons with disabilities.

On numerous occasions, CCD has appeared before the HUMA Committee and the recommendations emanating from your report reflect that you heard the voice of Canadians with disabilities. We shared our National Action Plan with the Committee and many of its recommendations were included in the "Federal Poverty Reduction Plan" report.

In particular, we welcome the recommendations on the refundable Disability Tax Credit and the extension of the EI Sickness Benefit up to 50 weeks. If implemented, these measures will contribute to putting more money in the pockets of people with disabilities who have very limited incomes. We also applaud the recommendations aimed at addressing Aboriginal poverty, particularly those focusing on Aboriginal children. In addition, we commend the Committee for its acknowledgement of the role that voluntary sector organizations play in addressing poverty and for its recommendations aimed at strengthening the sector.

Disability and poverty are largely synonymous—poverty leads to disability and disability contributes to poverty. Thus poverty is very high on CCD's agenda. Since the HUMA report's release, we have been working to make grassroots Canadians aware of its recommendations. For example, we are publishing an article in the upcoming Abilities magazine on the Committee's recommendations.

We are hopeful that the Federal Government will be guided by this report and it would be gratifying to see the next Federal Budget implement the recommendation on the refundable DTC. In the coming weeks, therefore, we will be encouraging the Government of Canada to respond positively to the recommendations contained in the "Federal Poverty Reduction Plan" report.

Once again, CCD congratulates the HUMA Committee on its report and leadership in contributing to poverty reduction in Canada.


Tony Dolan
CCD Chairperson