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SOCI - Standing Committee

Social Affairs, Science and Technology

Report of the committee

Thursday, May 11, 2023

The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology has the honour to present its


Your committee, to which was referred Bill C-22, An Act to reduce poverty and to support the financial security of persons with disabilities by establishing the Canada disability benefit and making a consequential amendment to the Income Tax Act, has, in obedience to the order of reference of March 9, 2023, examined the said bill and now reports the same with the following amendments:

1.Preamble, page 1: Add the following after line 8:

“Whereas persons with disabilities may face additional barriers because of their gender, racialized or Indigenous status or other intersecting statuses;”.

2.Clause 9, page 3: Replace line 29 with the following:

“this Act;

(c.1) cannot be recovered or retained, in whole or in part, under the terms of any contract, insurance plan or similar instrument; and”.

3.New clause 10.1, page 4: Add the following after line 5:

10.1 A person, or any other person on their behalf, may appeal, to a body identified in regulations made under paragraph 11(1)(i), a Minister’s determination

(a) that the person is ineligible for a Canada disability benefit; or

(b) of the amount a Canada disability benefit that the person has received or will receive.”.

4.Clause 11, page 6: Replace lines 11 and 12 with the following:

“must take into consideration

(a) the Official Poverty Line as defined in section 2 of the Poverty Reduction Act;

(b) the additional costs associated with living with a disability;

(c) the challenges faced by those living with a disability in earning an income from work;

(d) the intersectional needs of disadvantaged individuals and groups; and

(e) Canada’s international human rights obligations.

(1.2) Within 12 months of this Act coming into force, the Governor in Council must make regulations under paragraphs 11(1)(a) to (f), (h), (i), (k) and (n) that are necessary to enable a Canada disability benefit to be paid in accordance with this Act.”.

5.Clause 14, page 7: Replace line 21 with the following:

14 This Act comes into force on a day to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council, but no later than the”.

6.Make any necessary consequential changes to the numbering of provisions and cross-references resulting from the amendments to the bill.

Your committee has also made certain observations, which are appended to this report.

Respectfully submitted,



Observations to the twelfth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology (Bill C-22)

Given that a major goal of the proposed Canada Disability Benefit is to reduce poverty among persons with disabilities, your committee recommends that, once implemented, the Government of Canada conduct research to determine the extent to which the benefit achieves this goal and make adjustments should it prove inadequate.

Your committee heard a strong consensus that the disability community expects to play a role that goes beyond mere consultation in the development and design of the regulations. Your committee therefore recommends that, in addition to a dynamic involvement based on the “Nothing Without Us” model, the disability community should be represented in all its diversity, with space made for the most marginalized voices to be equally involved in all stages of the decision-making process.

Your committee heard that the official poverty line, currently defined using the Market Basket Measure, is not a representative indicator of disability-related living costs and would not achieve the objective of reducing poverty among Canadians with disabilities. Your committee therefore encourages the Governor in Council to consider these additional costs, which vary depending on a number of factors, in any regulation made regarding the amount of the Canada Disability Benefit and the method of determining said amount.

Your committee is concerned that an unanticipated consequence to limiting disability benefits to “working-age” persons might be to perpetuate poverty amongst persons with disabilities over the age of 65, particularly women. Your committee therefore suggests that within five years of the Act coming into force, the Government of Canada specifically evaluate its impact on elderly persons with disabilities.

Your committee further notes that disability poverty does not end at age 65 and believes that no person with disabilities should live in poverty. Your committee is concerned that when Old Age Security benefits become available at 65, it is essential that seniors with disabilities do not experience a reduction in income. Your committee therefore recommends that the Government of Canada ensure that persons with disabilities over the age of 65 will have an income that lifts them out of poverty, whether through the Canada Disability Benefit or through a disability supplement to Old Age Security.

Your committee recommends that organizations representing persons living with a mental illness be explicitly involved in the drafting of regulations, ensuring that the issues of episodic disability due to mental illness are considered.

Your committee heard that it is important to respect the necessary autonomy of persons with disabilities to live their life with dignity. Your committee also heard that persons with disabilities, mainly women, experience higher rates of domestic violence and financial dependence, and that ensuring financial security is one way to help prevent certain types of violence against a person with a disability. Your committee therefore urges the Government of Canada to base eligibility for the benefit on an individual’s income, not that of their family or household unit.

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