Federal Budget 2024: Key Highlights

The 2024 federal budget was released on Tuesday, April 16. You can access the full budget here. We have summarized a few noteworthy items we thought might be of interest.

Canada Disability Benefit (CDB):

The government proposed a maximum benefit of $2,400 per year for low-income persons with disabilities who are between the ages of 18 and 64. This could mean up to $200 a month in additional support. To access these funds, you must, however, have a Disability Tax Credit (DTC) certificate. The government is asking provinces and territories not to consider the CDB payments as income. If enforced, payments would begin July 2025. It should also be noted that the government plans on amending the Tax Court of Canada Act, the Department of Employment and Social Development Act and the Federal Courts Act to create an appeal mechanism for the CDB.

After years of advocacy work by the disability community, this announcement is disappointing. There are 8 million Canadians aged 15 years and older who identify as having a disability, however, at the end of 2022, fewer than 1.5 million DTC certificates had been issued[1].  People with an intellectual disability are at a greater risk of experiencing poverty than other Canadians with or without a disability. People with an intellectual disability, living on their own are experience poverty at an alarming rate of 73 percent, compared to 23 percent of those without a disability[2].

The government set out to develop a framework to lift people with disabilities out of poverty.  While some additional support can be helpful, an additional $200 a month for only those who have a DTC certificate, doesn’t even scratch the surface when it comes to the support needed. It would barely move the needle for the 3 out of 4 people with an intellectual disability who live independently. We will continue to monitor how this benefit will interact with provincial and territorial supports and are committed to advocating for more to support the disability community.

Investments in Care:

Be on the lookout for consultations! The government announced they will be launching consultations on the development of a National Care Strategy.  They plan on creating a sectoral table on the Care Economy, which would be mandated to provide recommendations on improving Canada’s care economy.

Home Improvements:

Starting next year, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is set to launch a Canada Secondary Suite Loan Program. Homeowners could take advantage of this program to access up to $40, 000 in low-interest loans to add a secondary suite to their existing home. Full details to come.

Tax Updates and Credits:

Disability Supports Deductions: Changes to the Income Tax Act could expand the list of items that would be eligible for the Disability Supports Deduction. These items could include:

  • service animals trained to perform specific tasks for people with certain severe impairments;
  • alternative computer input devices, such as assistive keyboards, braille display, digital pens, and speech recognition devices; and,
  • ergonomic work chairs and bed positioning devices, including related assessments.

Capital Gains & Principal Residence: We were pleased to see that the exemption for capital gains from the sale of a principal residence will be maintained. Read our insights article on why this is important for those holding a home in trust for a person with disabilities.

Automatic tax filing for low Income Canadians: Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is launching a pilot project this summer intended to support more people with lower incomes to file their taxes.

Investments in Legal Aid

Access to criminal justice for many in our sector if often cost prohibitive. We were glad to see that this budget proposed a $440 million investment over five years to support access to legal aid in the criminal justice system.

PooranLaw will continue to monitor the legal implications and impact related to of the 2024 federal budget. In the meantime, if you require legal assistance, we encourage you to reach out to any member of our team.

[1] https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/cra-arc/prog-policy/stats/dtc-stats/dtc-2022-tbl1-en.pdf

[2] https://inclusioncanada.ca/position-on-financial-security-income-support-plain-language/

Note: This article provides general information only and does not constitute, and should not be relied upon as, legal advice or opinion. PooranLaw Professional Corporation holds the copyright to this article and its contents may not be copied or reproduced in any form, in whole or in part, without the express permission of PooranLaw Professional Corporation.