Federal Poverty Reduction Plan Must Address Disability Poverty

November 18, 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 light of the reality of disability poverty, CCD welcomes yesterday's House of Commons Committee report, "Federal Poverty Reduction Plan: Working in Partnership Towards Reducing Poverty in Canada", which calls for a comprehensive plan and funding to address poverty. The disability community has developed its own National Action Plan on Disability that outlines short and long-term recommendations for improving the economic and social position of people with disabilities. Chief among these is making the Disability Tax Credit refundable for those who do not have a taxable income. This recommendation is echoed in the Parliamentary Committee Report.
"We are pleased that the MPs who developed the "Federal Poverty Reduction Plan" report were guided in large part by the disability community's National Action Plan," stated Tony Dolan, Chairperson of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, a national human rights organization of people with disabilities. "Their report contained important recommendations that have the support of Canadians with disabilities. These recommendations are a step in the right direction," stated Marie White, Chair of CCD's Social Policy Committee. "CCD eagerly awaits the Government's response to this report and hopes that its response will be an improvement over its September 2010 response to the Senate Report on Poverty. The Government response failed to recognize that poverty eradication requires a broad spectrum of measures from the Federal Government that goes way beyond employment measures," stated Laurie Beachell, CCD National Coordinator.

For More Information Contact:

Laurie Beachell, CCD National Coordinator-204-981-6179
Tony Dolan, CCD Chairperson 902-569-2817
Marie White, Chairperson CCD Social Policy Committee 709-739-8233
Jim Derksen, CCD Policy Advisor 204-786-7937