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QUESTION PERIOD — Employment and Social Development

Canada Disability Benefit

May 7, 2024

Senator Gold, persons with disabilities continue to tell us that a Canada disability benefit of only $200 per month, and only reaching some, is woefully inadequate.

Last week the office of the Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities emphasized that this funding level was necessary in order to deliver the benefit in a “. . . fiscally responsible way.”

At the same time, recent research from Quebec indicates that offshore tax avoidance by Canada’s largest companies is increasing. Over 10 years, 59 companies have transferred about $120 billion in profits to Luxembourg alone, resulting in billions of lost public revenue per year.

What steps is the government taking, one, to ensure that the most affluent actually contribute their fair share; two, to adequately fund the Canada disability benefit; and three, to ensure that fiscal responsibility is not on the backs of those most in need?

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

Thank you for your question. Again, as I’ve stated on many occasions, I understand and the government understands the disappointment of many of those within the disability community and those who properly support the extension of benefits announced in the budget.

With regard to your question of offshore tax avoidance, tax compliance is extremely important for Canadians. Taxes not only support government services and programs, but aid economic development within Canada through investments in infrastructure and employment. The government has made ongoing financial investments directed at collaboration with domestic and international partners as well as in technological advancements and data sources that have advanced the Canada Revenue Agency, or CRA, in its efforts to make everyone pay the tax that they owe.

The government remains committed to supporting Canadians in a caring and responsible manner.

Thank you, Senator Gold. Could you please ask the government to provide the concrete steps they will be taking to address both the inadequacy of the Canada disability benefit and the lack of action to address offshore tax avoidance by the richest and most privileged in our country?

Senator Gold [ + ]

I will certainly raise those questions with the minister. Thank you, senator.

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