In June of this year, the Canada Disability Benefit Act (the “Act”) received Royal Assent. The Canada Disability Benefit (“the Benefit”) is intended to reduce poverty among working-age Canadians with disabilities. The Government of Canada has expressed that the Benefit is a key commitment and the cornerstone of Canada’s Disability Inclusion Action Plan. The Benefit will be paid by the Government directly to eligible individuals. The details of the Benefit remain unknown at this stage; however, the Government did indicate in 2020 that the Benefit would be modeled after the Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors. The regulations under the Act, which have not yet been written, will provide the details of the Benefit, such as eligibility and amount.
The Government has undertaken a 2-phase engagement process to inform the development of the regulations and the benefit’s implementation. At this time, the first phase of the process is underway. It included an online engagement tool to “gather input from all Canadians,” which closes on January 4, 2024. The second phase will involve publishing proposed regulations in the Canada Gazette. Upon publication, Canadians will be able to share their comments on the proposed regulations and the Government may make changes to the regulations in response. The Act requires that regulations be made no later than June 2025.
The Government has noted that working-age Canadians with disabilities are twice as likely to live in poverty than those without disabilities, and that the COVID-19 pandemic has made things even worse. The Benefit, if designed and implemented effectively, could have a significant impact on the disability community by lifting people out of poverty and facilitating ongoing financial security.
PooranLaw will continue to monitor the ongoing regulatory developments and provide updates that relate to the Canada Disability Benefit.
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