Today’s AODA Alliance Toronto Star Guest column and Supportive Star Editorial Show Why Parliament Must Quickly Strengthen the Weak Bill C-22, the Proposed Canada Disability Benefit Act

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance

United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities



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Today’s AODA Alliance Toronto Star Guest column and Supportive Star Editorial Show Why Parliament Must Quickly Strengthen the Weak Bill C-22, the Proposed Canada Disability Benefit Act


November 7, 2022




The November 7, 2022, Toronto Star includes a guest column by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky. In 500 words, it explains how and why Parliament must quickly strengthen and then quickly pass Bill C-22, the weak proposed Canada Disability Benefit Act. Read this guest column below.


The newspaper also includes an editorial by the Toronto Star itself, which cites the AODA Alliance’s criticisms of the bill. The editorial concludes that Parliament must pass this bill “with some modifications and without delay.”


Bill C-22 does not guarantee that a Canada Disability Benefit will ever be paid, or that it will be more than $1 per month. It guarantees no start date for these payments. A future Cabinet could gut the Canada Disability Benefit without any public debate or public vote.


Could you please:


  • Send this guest column and Star editorial to your Member of Parliament. Tell them to press for quick but strong amendments to Bill C-22.
  • Post this on your Facebook page. Tweet it on Twitter.
  • Share this with your family and friends.
  • Send this to your local news station. Urge them to cover this issue.
  • Write HUMA, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. Urge HUMA to strengthen Bill C-22. Tell HUMA that you support the AODA Alliance’s short 5-page brief to HUMA on Bill C-22. Write HUMA at


HUMA is now holding public hearings on Bill C-22. The AODA Alliance will present to that Committee on Monday, November 14, 2022. You will be able to watch that presentation live online on the HUMA web page or afterwards once that video is archived.


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Toronto Star November 7, 2022


Originally posted at


Guest Column


Canada must do right by those with disabilities


David Lepofsky Contributor David Lepofsky chairs the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance.


The federal government calls it “shameful” that one million people with disabilities languish in poverty. It’s good the government promised to create a Canada Disability Benefit (CDB) to lift them out of poverty.


However, their weak Bill C-22 before Parliament does not require the government to ever pay a CDB, or set a deadline to start paying it. It sets no minimum benefit amount or ensure it keeps pace with inflation. It could be $1 per month.


The bill disqualifies almost one-third of people with disabilities over the age of 15 from the benefit because of their age, no matter how poor. Only working-age people qualify. Yet, disability poverty doesn’t start at 18 or end at 65.


The bill gives cabinet a blank cheque, excluding parliamentary oversight. Cabinet decides in secret all specifics, including the benefit’s amount, who’s eligible, and when or if it will be paid.


Liberals have a minority of House of Commons seats. They want all legislative decisions forked over to cabinet, where Liberals have all the seats.


The bill imposes no timelines for cabinet to enact regulations needed to start paying the benefit.


A future cabinet could gut it through secret votes.


We need Bill C-22 swiftly strengthened and swiftly passed. The CDB shouldn’t be restricted to “working age” people. The bill should set a mandatory minimum CDB amount, indexed to inflation, and a mandatory start date for paying it. Let cabinet increase but not reduce it.


Cabinet shouldn’t decide everything in regulations. The bill must set specifics on things like eligibility, requirements that cabinet’s regulations can clarify but can’t contradict.


The bill should impose a deadline for cabinet to make regulations needed for the benefit to begin.


It should require that none of the benefit will be clawed back by federal, provincial or territorial programs.


Honouring the disability rights maxim “nothing about us without us,” the bill should require federal politicians to hold accessible face-to-face public consultations on regulations – more than emailing invitations to submit input to a faceless website.


Taking two years to get this far, Liberals still can’t say how much the CDB will be, who will get it or when. They are pressing Parliament to pass the bill as is, invoking the desperation of those living in poverty. That won’t get a dime to anyone for well over a year after the bill is passed.


The Liberals admit that the regulations could take a year. Then there’s delays for people to apply and get approved, and for cutting cheques. It took the government months just to pay a one-time emergency pandemic benefit for impoverished people with disabilities.


Our improvements to this bill would speed money into the pockets of impoverished people with disabilities sooner.


Then turn up the heat on federal and provincial politicians and bureaucrats to settle the details.


A cold winter looms. Government can do better than offer people with disabilities in poverty another year of regulation-making and backroom intergovernmental haggling!


Toronto Star November 7, 2022



Originally posted at  Editorial


Don’t delay disability benefit


It’s a reality that many of us could find ourselves living with a disability. According to data from the most recent Canadian Survey on Disability, we might not be prepared for what awaits us.

While 80 per cent of able-bodied people between 25 and 64 years of age are employed, just 59 per cent of those with disabilities have jobs, and less than half of Canadians with severe disabilities are employed.


Even when people with disabilities find employment, they remain at a disadvantage compared with their counterparts, as their median incomes fall below those of able-bodied Canadians.


The result of these statistics is predictable: Ten per cent of able-bodied working age adults live below the poverty line, compared with 14 per cent of those with mild disabilities and 28 per cent of those whose disabilities are severe.


And while it’s hard enough finding adequate food and shelter when you’re living below the poverty line, people with disabilities often have to shell out additional cash for mobility aids like walkers and wheelchairs. According to the survey, one million Canadians reported being unable to afford assistance devices.


Things have become so bad, in fact, that anecdotal reports suggest some people with disabilities are actually contemplating a medically assisted death – not because of pain, but because they can’t afford to live.


That doesn’t sound like Canada. And it must not be Canada. We have enough money to provide an income supplement to disabled people who need it, which is why the federal government must pass the Canada Disability Benefit Act (Bill C-22), with some modifications and without delay.


There have, after all, been enough delays already. Originally introduced as Bill C-35 in June of last year, the bill died when the election was called, and a virtually identical bill was introduced in June of this year. The bill passed second reading in October and is now in committee.


This week, the committee commenced public hearings and has heard repeatedly the importance of fast-tracking it, especially since Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough said it might take a year after passage to develop necessary regulations.


Now that said, the bill isn’t perfect. The benefit won’t be available to seniors, even though they comprise roughly one third of disabled Canadians. Indeed, 38 per cent of those over 65 and 47 per cent over 75 live with disabilities, and while they’re eligible for certain benefits, including the Old Age Supplement and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, they’re still more likely to live in poverty than able-bodied Canadians: While six per cent of Canadians over 65 live below the poverty line, seven per cent of those with mild disabilities and more than 10 per cent of those with severe disabilities do so.


The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance highlights other problems with the bill, including the fact that it’s frustratingly short on details. It doesn’t detail “the size of the benefit, when it will start, how much if any will it be increased due to inflation, and who is eligible for it.”


All of these details are left up to cabinet, along with the ability to gut or cut the benefit at will. Qualtrough has defended this on the ground that the bill is “framework legislation,” with details to be outlined in the regulations. But since the devil is in the details, Ottawa needs to work them out in public, and in consultation with Canadians with disabilities.


That shouldn’t take long since Ottawa has been working on the benefit since it committed to the Disability Inclusion Plan in the speech from the throne more than two years ago. And since it’s been more than two years, passing the law shouldn’t – nay mustn’t – take any longer either.