Trudeau Government’s Proposed Canada Disability Benefit Act Must Be Strengthened, Disability Coalition to Tell Senate Standing Committee 1 PM Today



Trudeau Government’s Proposed Canada Disability Benefit Act Must Be Strengthened, Disability Coalition to Tell Senate Standing Committee 1 PM Today


April 27, 2023 Ottawa: Today at public hearings streamed live starting 11 am EDT, in Room C-128, Senate Building, 2 Rideau St., Ottawa, the non-partisan grass roots AODA Alliance will press SOCI, the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, to amend the weak Bill C-22 (the proposed Canada Disability Benefit Act). They want to ensure that this bill lifts hundreds of thousand of people with disabilities out of poverty, as the Trudeau Government promised. AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky’s testimony begins at 1 pm.


This disability coalition applauds creation of the Canada Disability Benefit, but will slam the weak Bill C-22 as full of holes, because it:


  • Sets no minimum amount for the Canada Disability Benefit or a date for the Government to start paying it. It could be delayed for years and only amount to $1 per month.
  • Excludes almost one third of people with disabilities age 15 or older from qualifying for the Canada Disability Benefit solely because of their age regardless of their poverty. The Benefit can only be paid to “working-age” people with disabilities. Disproportionately, people with disabilities are seniors. Disability poverty doesn’t end at 65.
  • Gives every Cabinet now and in the future the arbitrary power to make all the decisions if and when it wishes, over the size of the Benefit, when it will start, how much if any it will be increased due to inflation, and who is eligible for it. It imposes no deadlines for Cabinet to ever act. A future Cabinet can unilaterally gut the Benefit, voting in a secret meeting.


“Far too many people with disabilities languish in poverty. They deserve swift, strong Federal Government action that will in fact fix this,” said David Lepofsky, Chair of the non-partisan AODA Alliance which spearheads the campaign for accessibility for people with disabilities in Ontario. “Bill C-22 is too weak. Under it, no people with disabilities may ever receive a Canada Disability Benefit, no matter how impoverished they are. If they do receive this benefit, it could be a pittance, and could be unilaterally cut or reduced at any time without Parliament’s oversight. It might never lift any people with disabilities out of poverty. Impoverished people with disabilities deserve better!”


The AODA Alliance’s brief, submitted to the SOCI Committee, offers a short list of high-impact, least-intrusive practical recommendations to speed up money to impoverished people. It refutes the Federal Government’s campaign in opposition to the Senate amending the bill.


“People with disabilities should not be left to simply hope and trust that Cabinet will quickly bring forward strong regulations, once this bill is passed,” said Lepofsky. “In a strikingly similar situation, we saw the Federal Government move far too slowly to enact regulations needed to effectively implement the Accessible Canada Act.”


On March 22, 2023, the bills sponsor, Disabilities Minister Carla Qualtrough, said she’s open to the Senate making amendments, and that the same Standing Committee did a “fabulous job” when it made amendments four years ago to the Accessible Canada Act, a bill which the same minister spearheaded. The AODA Alliance will tell the Senate Standing Committee that its modest list of necessary amendments won’t delay the bill or endanger its being enacted.


Contact: AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky,

Twitter: @aodaalliance


For background:


  • The AODA Alliance’s brief to the Senate’s SOCI Standing Committee, listing the key needed amendments.
  • The widely-viewed AODA Alliance 7-minute video, showing how the Trudeau Government has flip-flopped on whether the House of Commons should have amended the bill.
  • The AODA Alliance website’s Bill C-22 page, which shows our efforts to strengthen this proposed new law.