ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE
NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
As Pressure Mounts for the House of Commons to Now Ratify All the Senate’s Recent Amendments to Bill C-22 (the Canada Disability Benefit Act), Why Is the Trudeau Government Delaying?
June 1, 2023, Toronto: Without offering over 6 million people with disabilities in Canada an explanation, the Trudeau Government is delaying a vote in the House of Commons to ratify the Senate’s recent amendments to Bill C-22 (the Canada Disability Benefit Act) which is desperately needed now by hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities who languish in chronic poverty. The Federal Government pledged that no people with disabilities in Canada should ever live in poverty. It offered this bill to create a new social benefit, the Canada Disability Benefit, to lift eligible people with disabilities out of poverty.
Pressure on the Trudeau Government to stop its foot-dragging is growing and growing:
- Last fall and winter, the Trudeau Liberals repeatedly demanded that this bill be expedited so that desperately needed money could reach impoverished people with disabilities. The delay now is the sole responsibility of the Trudeau Government.
- The best way to honour this week, National AccessAbility Week, is for the Government to put its legislation where its mouth is and ratify the Senate’s amendments now, the last step needed for this bill to finish its long journey through Parliament. If the House of Commons does not ratify all the Senate’s amendments, this bill must return to the Senate for more debate, delaying the bill’s passage for months.
- There is massive pressure on the Government from the disability community for the Senate’s amendments to be ratified now. The impressive number of organizations that have signed a compelling May 29, 2023, open letter to the House of Commons has grown to 44. (Signatories listed below.)
- In an entirely separate effort, an additional dozen disability organizations that have been working closely with the bill’s sponsor, Disabilities Minister Carla Qualtrough, sent another such letter to Parliament. They call for this bill to be passed and to receive Royal Assent before the House of Commons rises for the summer. That, we add, can only happen if the House ratifies all the Senate’s amendments to this bill. For example, Disability Without Poverty, an organization that Minister Qualtrough has regularly quoted with approval, tweeted the following on May 29, 2023:
“Disability Without Poverty @Disability_WP Let’s get Bill C-22 to Royal Assent ASAP! #EndDisabilityPoverty #LetsGetItDone #RatifyBillC22”
- On May 30, 2023, a powerful letter from two legal experts to Prime Minister Trudeau that was endorsed by every provincial Trial Lawyers Association in Canada, calls for ratification of the Senate’s amendments. Those trial lawyers’ associations cannot all be wrong! That letter gave prime focus to the Senate’s amendment that prevents private insurance companies from scooping the new Canada Disability Benefit away from people with disabilities who receive long-term disability insurance payments. Money that the Federal Government intends to go to impoverished people with disabilities should not instead end up in the bank accounts of rich insurance companies.
- On May 30, 2023, the Green Party of Canada called for swift ratification of the Senate’s amendments to Bill C-22. No federal party has come out against those amendments. All federal parties have spoken in the past about the need to speed this bill through Parliament in order to get money to people with disabilities living in poverty.
- The Trudeau Government has repeatedly committed itself in connection with this bill to the disability community’s maxim “Nothing about us without us!” The crescendoing call from the disability community to ratify the Senate’s amendments now, by open letters, emails and a barrage of tweets on Twitter, is the voice of the “us” to which that maxim speaks.
- On March 22, 2023, Minister Qualtrough told a Senate Standing Committee that she was open to the Senate making amendments to the bill, as long as they respect this bill as framework legislation. These amendments do just that.
- On May 17, 2023, during Third Reading debate on this bill in the senate, the bill’s sponsor in the Senate, Senator Brent Cotter, said he would vote for the bill, including its amendments, even though he voiced complaints about those amendments – complaints that are lacking in any merit.
“We fully expect that MPs would want to swiftly ratify this bill now, so they should be allowed to do so in a free vote if Prime Minister Trudeau cannot make up his mind,” said David Lepofsky, volunteer Chair of the non-partisan AODA Alliance, one of the disability organizations that has been pressing for these amendments. “MPs won’t want to return home for the summer to face the wrath of the many impoverished people with disabilities that they’d leave in the lurch if this bill is not passed and given Royal Assent this month!”
Contact: David Lepofsky
AODA Alliance Bill C-22 Page: www.aodaalliance.org/c22
Updated List of Signatories to the AODA Alliance’s May 29, 2023 Open Letter to the House of Commons on Bill c-22 the Canada Disability Benefit Act
As of June 1, 2023, the following organizations and groups have signed the May 29, 2023 open letter to the House of Commons on Bill C-22:
- Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance
- ARCH Disability Law Centre
- Ontario Disability Coalition
- New Brunswick Coalition of persons with Disabilities
- Ontario Parents of Visually Impaired Children
- Accessibility Hamilton Alliance
- Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians
- Millions Missing Canada
- Daily Bread Food Bank
- Thunder Bay Family Network
- FAIR Association of Victims for Accident Insurance Reform
- Canadian Council of the Blind
- Income Security Advocacy Centre
- Canadian National Institute for the Blind
- Access for Sight Impaired Consumers
- ODSP Action Coalition
- Social Planning Council of Winnipeg
- Cerebral Palsy Association of Manitoba
- The Reena Foundation
- ASE Community Foundation for Black Canadians with Disabilities
- Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Elgin, London, Middlesex, Oxford Network
- POOF Protecting ODSP OW Funding
- Coalition Canada Basic Income-revenu de base
- Nova Scotia League for Equal Opportunities
- Learning Disabilities Association Canada Association canadienne des troubles d’apprentissage
- Silent Voice Canada
- Thunder Bay & District Injured Workers Support Group
- Ontario Network of Injured Worker’s Groups
- Centre for Independent Living in Toronto CILT
- Fibromyalgia Association Canada (FAC)
- Campaign 2000: End Child and Family Poverty
- Ontario Para Network
- Xenia Concerts
- Hand Over Hand Community Organization
- Ontario Autism Coalition
- Connected Hearts Helping Canada
- Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
- Barrier Free Manitoba
- Citizens with Disabilities Ontario CWDO
- Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities
- Family Service Toronto
- Acquired Brain Injury Survivor
- National ME/FM Action Network