For Immediate Release
June 6, 2020

TORONTO, ON – The Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) is very pleased to learn that the Federal Government is providing more than $550 million in financial support to people with disabilities and their families as they navigate new costs and challenges due to COVID-19.  

1.25 million Canadians who are eligible for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) will qualify for a one-time, non-taxable and non-reportable payment of $600. This includes families that receive the Child Disability Benefit. The government has conveyed that there is no need to apply for this benefit; it will be automatically allocated to those who qualify.

Additionally, $15 million will be provided to develop a National Workplace Accessibility Stream through the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities which will help to ensure that people with a disability are able to access employment in a post-COVID economy. Further funds will be provided through the Accessible Technology Program.  

The announcement is the largest investment in people with disabilities by the Federal Government since the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) was made available in 2008.  

“I’m relieved to see Canada beginning to fill the financial gap that COVID-19 has created for so many people with disabilities and their families across the country,” says Krista Carr, Executive Vice President of CACL, “The Canadian government has officially recognized the added financial cost of living with a disability and how that cost has gone up during the pandemic. This announcement is so vitally important and is definitely a step in the right direction.” 

And yet there are shortcomings to using the Disability Tax Credit as a mechanism to allocate and distribute funds to people with disabilities. In order to qualify for the DTC, applicants must complete a screening process and have a medical professional certify their disability status. The DTC evaluation process can be onerous and can cost anywhere from $100 to $300, making it inaccessible to those who need it most.

“We appreciate the Federal government’s willingness to engage the disability community in a meaningful dialogue over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic,” stated Robin Acton, President of CACL, “I expect that this relationship will continue to grow and evolve and look forward to being engaged in the process of making the DTC more accessible to people with intellectual disabilities and their families in the future, and to collaborating on other initiatives that will promote financial security for all. ” 

Even before the pandemic began, people with intellectual disabilities and their families experienced drastically higher than average rates of underemployment, unemployment, and poverty. With the onset of COVID-19, people with disabilities experienced hardship in the healthcare system, the workplace, and because of limited access to disability supports.  

As Canada plans for a new normal and for the recovery phase of the pandemic response, CACL and its provincial and territorial member associations look forward to working with all levels of government to address the systemic inequity that exists for persons with intellectual disabilities and their families across the country. 

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Media Contact: Marc Muschler, Senior Communications Officer, CACL, mmuschler@cacl.ca

The Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) is a national federation of 13 provincial-territorial associations and over 300 local associations working to advance the full inclusion and human rights of people with an intellectual disability and their families. CACL leads the way in building an inclusive Canada by strengthening families, defending rights, and transforming communities into places where everyone belongs.