Canada Disability Benefit: Federal Funding Falls Short

On April 16th, the federal government announced the 2024 Budget, revealing its plans for the Canadian Disability Act to come into force in June 2024 and begin providing payments to eligible Canadians starting in July 2025, following the completion of the regulatory process and consultations with persons with disabilities.

Fund the Bill was the message shared by the disability community leading up to Budget 2024, and disability rights advocates across the country have worked hard to support this legislation. Now, although technically funded, the Canadian Disability Benefit is not funded sufficiently to meet the needs of Canadians with disabilities who continue to live in poverty. The Budget 2024 announcement left people rightfully feeling angry, frustrated, and betrayed. 

The amount and eligibility criteria outlined in Budget 2024 do not align with the purpose of the Canadian Disability Act  – to lift Canadians with disabilities out of poverty. 

The federal government has allocated $6.1 billion over 6 years, and $1.4 billion on an ongoing basis after that. 

The maximum benefit amount is $2400 per year, which works out to $200 per month or just over $6 a day, a figure that will do little to alleviate the poverty that so many Canadians with disabilities are experiencing. 

In addition to the meagre benefit amount, we are disappointed with the federal government’s decision to use the Disability Tax Credit as the avenue for eligibility. This will exclude many from getting the benefit – there are many barriers, most notably a shortage of doctors available to fill out the necessary paperwork to apply for the credit.

We believe there are better ways to verify disability, such as linking it to the provincial disability benefit eligibility process. Inclusion BC and many others made this recommendation during the consultation process with the federal government, and we will continue to recommend it as the Canadian Disability Benefit moves forward. 

So, what’s next?

Before this legislation is put into practice, there will be a regulatory process  – a formal process based on specified policies, principles, associated criteria, and defined procedures.  Important decisions must still be made during the regulatory process, which also means they can be influenced. 

We have a couple of questions as we move into this regulatory process:

  • First, can the process be shortened in order to get money in the hands of people who need it before July of 2025?
  • Second, we are wary of the wording in Budget 2024 that refers to the $2400 annual benefit as a ‘maximum.’ How many people will actually receive this amount, and how will that be decided?

In the wake of this blow to the disability community, our strategy moving forward is to push the province to at least match this federal increase, as well as committing to not claw back even a penny of the federal benefit from those who need it. With an election coming up this fall, you can trust that we will keep the pressure on our provincial representatives. 


In solidarity, 

Karla Verschoor
Executive Director, Inclusion BC


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Our approach to advocacy is guided by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, which recognizes the full citizenship and human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Kerridan Dougan, Advocate

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