Government of Canada introduces legislation to create the new Canada Disability Benefit

News release

June 22, 2021, Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada

Canadians with disabilities are twice as likely to live in poverty than those without disabilities, a situation that has been made even worse by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. By addressing the longstanding inequities that lead to financial insecurity, hardships and social exclusion faced by persons with disabilities, the Government of Canada is delivering on its commitment to building a disability-inclusive Canada.

As part of the Government of Canada’s plan to ensure an inclusive recovery that “leaves no one behind”, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, introduced new legislation today that would establish the framework for a new Canada Disability Benefit.

This ground-breaking legislation would enable the Government of Canada to take a proactive approach in the creation and delivery of the new benefit, to support working-age Canadians with disabilities. The Canada Disability Benefit would supplement, not replace, existing federal and provincial-territorial supports with a goal of lifting hundreds of thousands of persons with disabilities out of poverty.

In the spirit of “Nothing Without Us”, the Government of Canada will build on the legislation introduced today to engage with stakeholders and persons with disabilities to have their voices heard on the design of the benefit leading up to the development of regulations. This engagement has already started with the recent launch of the Disability Inclusion Action Plan, a public survey that asks Canadians how the Government of Canada can build a barrier-free country. Engagement activities will continue through the summer and fall.

The legislation also recognizes the leading role that provinces and territories play in providing supports and services to Canadians with disabilities and the importance of engaging with them in developing income and other supports. Federal, Provincial and Territorial (FPT) Ministers responsible for Social Services and Disability intend to meet this summer for an initial discussion on the proposed new benefit.

The Government of Canada committed in the 2020 Speech from the Throne to develop the first-ever Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP). This plan will include:

  • a new Canada Disability Benefit;
  • a robust employment strategy for Canadians with disabilities;
  • and a better process to determine eligibility for federal disability programs and benefits.

The new Canada Disability Benefit is the cornerstone of this plan.


“When the pandemic struck, Canadians with disabilities were hit hard. Many experienced job loss and financial pressures, which increased existing financial insecurity and hardship. By proposing to create the new Canada Disability Benefit, the Government of Canada is responding to the unique and vital needs of persons with disabilities. This supplementary income benefit would help people to rebound and to fully participate in all aspects of our society and economy. It would  address the longstanding financial hardships experienced by persons with disabilities predating the pandemic, and would be an investment in the realization of a fully inclusive society. Canadians with disabilities continue to be at the centre of our country’s inclusive recovery.”

– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough

Quick facts

  • According to the 2017 Canadian Survey of Disabilities, nearly 850,000 (21%) working-age Canadians with disabilities live in poverty. Persons with severe disabilities (26%) and very severe disabilities (31%) are particularly vulnerable and experience a high rate of poverty, nearly three times the rate of persons without disabilities (11%).
  • Working-age Canadians with more severe disabilities, who live alone (44%) and are lone parents (37%), are more likely to live below the poverty line.
  • Among persons with disabilities, women, members of the LGBTQ2 community, racialized Canadians and Indigenous people are more likely to be financially insecure.
  • The Government of Canada provides supports to Canadians with disabilities, largely seniors and children, through direct targeted, statutory income programs and tax measures. It also awards grants and contributions through third-party disability organizations.
  • Public engagement on the Disability Inclusion Action Plan is open until August 31, 2021. Canadians are encouraged to complete the online survey and share their views, to help guide the development of the Plan.
  • Budget 2021 committed the Government to undertaking consultations with stakeholders that would feed directly into the design of the new disability benefit, including engagement with provinces and territories, which play a central role in providing support to many Canadians with disabilities.

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For media enquiries, please contact:

Ashley Michnowski
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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The Government of Canada has introduced legislation to create a new Canada Disability Benefit (CDB). The benefit would help reduce poverty among low-income, working-age Canadians with disabilities by providing direct financial support.

The CDB is a cornerstone of Canada’s first-ever Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP), a commitment made in the 2020 Speech from the Throne. Engagement on the Action Plan is underway with a focus on developing concrete actions that will contribute to:

  • reducing poverty;
  • creatring more good quality jobs for persons with disabilities;
  • helping to realize the Accessible Canada Act’s stated objective of a barrier-free Canada by 2040;
  • making it easier for persons with disabilities to access federal benefits, programs and services; and
  • fostering a culture of inclusion to equalize longstanding inequities.

In the spirit and principle of “nothing without us”, the CDB will be developed in consultation with persons with disabilities, disability organizations, Indigenous representatives and other stakeholders. The Government will also engage its provincial and territorial government partners on the CDB, as they play a central role in providing support to many Canadians with disabilities.

Beyond the introduction of CDB legislation, the Government will continue to support persons with disabilities in the post-pandemic recovery by continuing to build back better while “leaving no one behind”.

The CDB legislation is the latest step to building a more accessible and disability inclusive Canada

  • Since 2015, the Government of Canada has named a Minister responsible for Persons with Disabilities, and signed on to both the Marrakesh Treaty and the Optional Protocol of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
  • The Accessible Canada Act (ACA) came into force on July 11, 2019. The Act includes seven priority areas: employment; the built environment; communication; information and communication technologies; the procurement of goods, services and facilities; the design and delivery of programs and services; and transportation.
  • Accessibility Standards Canada was established by the ACA to create, review and revise accessibility standards, and to lead research, in order to support society reach the highest level of accessibility and inclusion for all Canadians.
  • The Government of Canada created the COVID-19 Disability Advisory Group to advise the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion on the lived experiences of persons with disabilities during the pandemic, along with disability-specific issues, systemic gaps and potential responses.
  • Beginning October 30, 2020, the Government provided a one-time payment of up to $600 to support Canadians with disabilities with additional expenses incurred during the pandemic.
  • On September 23, 2020, the Government committed in its Speech from the Throne to bring forward the first-ever Disability Inclusion Action Plan that includes:
    • a new Canada Disability Benefit modelled on the Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors;
    • a robust employment strategy for Canadians with disabilities with a focus on training, employment supports, barrier removal and the business case for disability inclusion; and,
    • a new, inclusive process to determine eligibility for federal government disability programs and benefits – one that reflects a modern understanding of disability.
  • On February 15, 2021, the Canada Gazette (Part 1) published for comment the first set of proposed Accessible Canada Regulations under the ACA.
  • The Government of Canada is processing applications to fill two Governor in Council appointments, the Accessibility Commissioner and a Chief Accessibility Officer who will work to prevent and remove barriers to accessibility. The deadline for applications is June 28, 2021.
  • On June 4, 2021, the Minister launched the first round of engagement on the development of the Disability Inclusion Action Plan. Canadians can complete an online survey until August 31, 2021.

This on Govt of Canada Website go to the link here


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