QUESTION PERIOD

Disability Benefits

December 16, 2020


Senator Gold, given the commitment in the Speech from the Throne and the indication when Minister Hajdu was here around the value of the national guidelines that have been put in place during COVID-19; and given the commitment also to people with disabilities, the issues that we’re dealing with now with Bill C-7 and in light of the Ontario government signalling it may reduce rights of those receiving disability benefits, what steps is the government taking in particular, then, to ensure that adequate supports are in place for those living with disabilities who are living under the poverty line?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) [ + ]

Again, thank you, senator. The government is working with its counterparts to find solutions and to do what we can to address these important issues. Again, I fear that I repeat myself when I say that issues of basic income are matters that need to be studied more thoroughly and experimented with more thoroughly in this country. It is regrettable that pilot projects were not continued in certain areas, which would have given us more information. But this is not something that the federal government can or should do unilaterally.

As we know from reading the newspapers, even the articulation of a desire for national standards has precipitated, from my province and others, a very strong, equivocal and negative reaction. This is Canadian federalism in what is perhaps its most frustrating aspect, especially as we look for national solutions to matters that have been and remain outside the scope of federal jurisdiction, beyond the ability to provide funding through various programs and mechanisms through the provinces.

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