Key Highlights from the 2023 Federal Budget

The Liberals released their 2023 Federal Budget on March 28, 2023. The budget primarily targets dental care, inflation relief, investments to building a clean economy and ways to create a stronger working middle class.

In our latest Insights article, PooranLaw has summarized some key improvements that could significantly impact people with disabilities, their families, and community-based organizations. You can access the full budget here.


Registered Disability Savings Plan

In 2012, the federal government introduced the Qualifying Family Member (QFM) provision to the Income Tax Act. This provision was set to expire in December 2023 (after several prior extensions). It temporarily designated the parent, spouse, or common-law partner, of a person whose cognitive ability is in doubt, eligible to become their loved one’s RDSP plan holder.

We are pleased the see the following changes:

        • The QFM provision has been extended to December 2026.
        • The government also intends to expand the provision to include adult siblings of an RDSP beneficiary.

Although we support these changes, they remain a mere stopgap. While these improvements will help even more people, they will not provide an opportunity for all, otherwise eligible people to open a Plan or access the plan’s funds without being subjected to a rights stripping guardianship order. Provinces and territories need to find a long-term solution to address RDSP legal representation and restrictive guardianship issues.

We will continue to work closely with decision-makers to advocate for the full implementation of a sound, safe and legal framework that supports the rights of people with disabilities.

Registered Education Saving Plans

The following changes will be made to RESPs:

        • Increase limits on certain RESP withdrawals from $5,000 to $8,000 for full-time students, and from $2,500 to $4,000 for part-time students.
        • Allow divorced or separated parents to open a joint RESP for their children, which will make it easier and more affordable for parents to save for their children’s education.

Expanding Access to Dental Care

We are pleased to see the government recognize the additional costs required for specialized dental care for some people with disabilities. They will be providing:

$250 million over three years, starting in 2025-26, and $75 million ongoing to Health Canada to establish an Oral Health Access Fund. The fund will complement the Canadian Dental Care Plan by investing in targeted measures to address oral health gaps among vulnerable populations and reduce barriers to accessing care, including in rural and remote communities.

Home Renovations Tax Credit: 

The government is introducing a new, refundable Multigenerational Home Renovation Tax Credit. It will provide up to $7,500 in support for building a secondary suite for a senior or an adult with a disability, starting in 2023.


Advancing the Inclusion of Canadians with Disabilities

We are pleased to see an investment of $10 million over two years to Employment and Social Development Canada to “address the unique needs and ongoing barriers faced by persons with disabilities by investing in capacity building and the community-level work of Canada’s disability organizations.”

An additional $21.5 million it earmarked for work on the future delivery of the Canada Disability Benefit, which will include engagement with the disability community on the regulatory process. We will continue to monitor how and where these funds are spent and ensure to share any engagement opportunities with our community.

Supporting Personal Support Workers

      • Wages: $1.7 billion over five years to support hourly wage increases for personal support workers and related professions.
      • Strengthening Retirement Plans: $50 million over five years, to develop innovative solutions aiming to strengthen the retirement savings of PSWs.

PooranLaw will continue to monitor legal implications and progress related to investments made to support programs, improvement the quality of life of people living with a disability and their families. In the meantime, if you require legal assistance, we encourage you to reach out to your regular PooranLaw lawyer, or any member of our team.

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 the 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.