Walk the Talk Series Part 3: Trudeau Government Takes Meaning Out Of The Canada Disability Benefit

This article is the third in a series written by Steven Muller, Vice President Litigation at Share Lawyers. Click to read the first and second in the series.

Since June 2023, impoverished disabled Canadians have been asking the Trudeau government to budget the Canada Disability Benefit.

People with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by Canada’s affordability crisis. They are twice as likely to be living in poverty. Today, Budget 2024 named “Fairness For Every Generation” was released. The Trudeau government budget proposes funding $6.1 billion over six years, beginning in 2024-2025, and $1.4 billion per year ongoing for the Canada Disability Benefit and for the cost to deliver the benefit. The proposed design is based on a maximum benefit amount of $2,400 per year for low-income persons with disabilities. The benefit is estimated to increase “the financial well-being” of over 600,000 low-income persons with disabilities. The benefit design is to fit the investment proposed in the Budget. Budget 2024 calls on provinces and territories to exempt Canada Disability Benefit payments from counting as income in relation to provincial or territorial supports. But the Trudeau Budget 2024 is silent on the taxability of the new benefit and on potential insurance clawback.

The current budgeted benefit is a far cry from the November 2023, the Office of The Parliamentary Budget Officer proposed models for the Canada Disability Benefit. The models had an average projected benefit as low as $7,683 and as high as $14,555 per year.

A two-thousand-year-old motto by Hillel, a founder of the Talmud, reads: “If I do not do it, who else will do it. But if I only, do it for me, what am I then? And if I do not do it now, then when will I do it.”

The Canada Disability Benefit was meant to be a real and concrete measure to lift people out of poverty now. Sadly, the Trudeau government has failed to walk the talk for our community and for our impoverished disabled.

We’re here to support you during this difficult time

How can we help?