CDB : let’s talk about all numbers

Dec 03, 2023

By Guillaume Parent

Today, I would like to share with you some reflections on the Canadian Disability Benefit (CDB), for which the Parliamentary Budget Officer recently presented thoughtfully crafted scenarios.

First and foremost, let us applaud this initiative that highlights the impact government decisions can have on the lives of our fellow citizens with disabilities. The impressive figures, ranging from 3 to 22 billion dollars annually, remind us of how regulatory choices can shape our society. However, let us not be discouraged by these colossal numbers at first glance.

Let’s consider the unique opportunity that this benefit presents to strengthen our national plan to combat poverty. According to the 2017 census, nearly 40% of individuals living below the poverty line identify themselves as having a disability. Investing in this benefit means investing in inclusion, dignity, and autonomy for a population that did not choose to live with health challenges.

Certainly, the presented scenarios focus on short-term direct expenditures, but let’s keep in mind that they only show us one side of the story. It would be important to know the long-term projections of the socio-economic benefits that this measure could bring. Understanding how it will contribute to poverty reduction and improve the lives of our fellow citizens with disabilities is essential to fully grasp its positive impact.

Now, let’s talk about scenarios 2 and 3, which, let’s be honest, leave us perplexed. They seem to ignore the additional costs associated with daily life with a disability. Under Article 11.1.1.a and b of the Law, these scenarios appear to be in contradiction with fundamental principles. Therefore, we invite you to review these scenarios to ensure their compliance with the law.

Furthermore, it is crucial to emphasize that the law (Article 11.1.1.c) stipulates that the regulation must take into account the difficulties faced by people with disabilities in gaining employment income. In this context, the Disability Tax Credit (DTC), by not recognizing severe and permanent constraints to employment, cannot be used as the sole eligibility criterion for the CDB.

I take this opportunity to remind everyone that the government is currently in a consultation phase. Until December 21, 2023, the public is invited to provide input, via the web, on the creation of the regulation that will guide this historic measure.

In conclusion, I invite you to support this positive initiative while expressing our hope that our constructive suggestions will be considered. Together, we can ensure that the Canadian Disability Benefit becomes a shining example of social justice and inclusion.

With all my optimism,