Updated: Jul 17, 2021
Michelle Hewitt and Disability Without Poverty are committed to ending disability poverty, and are currently focusing on the Canada Disability Benefit
By Spencer van Vloten
June 28th, 2021
The new Canada-wide movement, Disability Without Poverty, is focused on ending disability poverty across the country, with one of their first steps being to help shape the Canada Disability Benefit.
We talked with one of Disability Without Poverty's leaders, Michelle Hewitt, about the group's work and guiding principles.
Spencer: Tell us about Disability Without Poverty
Michelle: We are a national movement, comprised of disability advocates from across Canada.
Our movement is about getting disabled persons to raise their voices and take the lead in ending disability poverty in our country.
We want to work with everyone who is committed to ending poverty for Canadians with disabilities. Whether you are an individual, family member, friend, Facebook group member, coalition, foundation, business/corporation, professional, service provider, nonprofit, religious group, ally or accomplice!
Spencer: Tell us about what Disability Without Poverty is focused on now.
Michelle: We are focused on the Canada Disability Benefit, as the first step to significantly reduce disability poverty across Canada. There are a few different aspects to this:
We need to mobilize the voices and powers of persons with disabilities, so that we and not the government shape the legislation, and so it's supported by the political parties and provinces.
Minister of Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, is one of the key policy makers involved with the Canada Disability Benefit
We are working with economists and policy experts to learn more and to work together to design key policy features.
And we are also working to secure public support to end disability poverty, because without this support ending disability poverty will be impossible.
Spencer: What do you see as the biggest contributors towards the poverty that disabled persons face in BC and Canada?
Michelle: I’m a PhD student, and my focus is on working aged disabled people with chronic illnesses that have no option other than to live in long-term care.