The Canada Disability Benefit Act (Bill C-22) was moved through the final approval process by the Canadian Federal Government at the end of June 2023. The legislation is designed to offer federal income support for low-income, working-age people living with disabilities. Local Kitchener Centre MP, Mike Morrice, continues to advocate for the bill, with amendments to better serve individuals living with disabilities.
Individuals living with disabilities represent the struggle of many Canadians – the challenge to fully participate in their community in a meaningful way due to factors. We all deserve to contribute our skills and passions through meaningful employment, relationships and daily activities. Lack of access to opportunities for skills training, adaptive devices and more means that there are clear barriers for some in our Region keeping them from thriving. Currently there is a clear income disparity: people with disabilities account for 41% of the low-income population, yet make up only 22% of the total population.
We view the unanimous passing of the legislation as a significant and positive step towards creating a more equitable country. However, there is still work to be done to ensure that the benefits have a meaningful impact, as the amount recipients will receive is still unclear, and the benefit will not come into effect for another year.
United Way WRC has a long history of supporting programs for people living with disabilities. Recent funding cycles have offered grants to the following organizations:
- KW AccessAbility and the programming they run for adults living with disabilities,
- Canadian Hearing Services’ wraparound supports,
- March of Dimes and the assistive device subsidy program,
- Brain Injury Association and their work with clients of all ages who have experienced a life-changing brain injury,
- CNIB’s full-service support aimed at changing what it means to be blind.
- Deaf Blind Ontario Foundation’s Intervenor Services program.
These organizations have the mandate to ensure that all members of our community are given equality in opportunities to thrive and grow in our beautiful region.
We prioritize equity and inclusivity across all the work that we do and advocate for policy and social change to ensure people of all abilities have access to services and opportunities. As we celebrate Disability Pride Month, it is important to recognize the progress that has been made, but also to acknowledge that there is still much work to be done.