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Do Canadians Support A New Disability Benefit?

A man in a suit, standing with a short woman in a suit, speaking to a crowd

Will Trudeau and Freeland deliver for disabled Canadians?

BC Disability

April 10th, 2024

Do Canadians support a new disability benefit? The answer is overwhelmingly so! But they have misgivings about whether it will be delivered.

Check out the following release from Disability Without Poverty and Daily Bread Food Bank to learn more.


In a survey conducted by the Angus Reid Institute (ARI), in partnership with Daily Bread

Food Bank and Disability Without Poverty, Canadians were asked about their views on the

Canada Disability Benefit.

Although results found overwhelming support for the benefit, Canadians are critical of the pace of implementation and do not trust that government will follow through.

The survey conducted by ARI found the following:

• Overall, nine-in-ten (91%) say they support the proposed Canada Disability Benefit,

including at least four-in-five of past Conservative voters (83%), and nearly all past

Liberal (98%), NDP (99%) and Bloc Québécois (98%) voters – an incredible level of

support from Canadians.

• Most Canadians (61%) believe current financial support available to Canadians living

with disabilities is inadequate (38%) or far too little (23%).

• Three-in-five (60%) Canadians living with a health issue that severely limits their day-

to-day activities say they are often (35%) or all the time (25%) stressed about money.

• Only one-in-20 (5%) say they are confident the federal government will follow

through, while 45 per cent doubt it will and 13 per cent say they are certain the

benefit will never be distributed.

• Food bank visits in Canada have increased at an unprecedented 32 per cent year-

over-year. In Toronto, one in ten people are now having to rely on food banks to

make ends meet – this is double the rate of last year.

Individuals living with a disability are disproportionately impacted by food insecurity,

facing additional expenses such as medical costs, special transportation, and dietary


One in seven people who access food banks nationally rely on provincial

disability income supports – in many provinces, this means living more than $800 below

the poverty line each month.

Income supports like the Canada Disability Benefit can greatly reduce the severity of food

insecurity, going a long way in ensuring people can live a life of dignity and meet their most

basic needs.

Calls To Action

Over 60 Liberal Members of Parliament (MPs) recently co-signed a letter calling on Prime

Minister Trudeau and Deputy Minister Freeland to fully fund Bill C-22, The Canada Disability

Benefit Act in the upcoming federal budget. This call to action is significant and solidifies that

this benefit is a core tenant of social policy.

Disability Without Poverty and Daily Bread Food Bank, in partnership with a coalition of over

40 organizations, are calling for a fully funded Canada Disability Benefit that addresses

three essential elements:

1. Bringing eligible recipients to a minimum of the Market Basket Measure

(MBM), Canada's Official Poverty Line. As there are increased costs of living with a

disability, such as special transportation, dietary needs, and uninsured medical

expenses, the benefit should ideally bring recipients to up to 30 per cent above the

poverty line. Payments should be monthly, indexed to inflation, and portable

throughout Canada.

2. The benefit must be efficient and seamless for those living with a disability.

Canadians with disabilities who receive provincial disability supports should

automatically qualify for the benefit, and their existing benefits should not be clawed


3. The benefit must be equitable and barrier-free. It should operate from a broad and

inclusive definition of disability – one that encompasses all disabilities, including

those that are invisible and episodic.

If the benefit limits eligibility through a restrictive definition of disability, this program will fail to achieve its core objective.

In a time of austerity, many will question whether Canada can afford this benefit, but it costs

more money for our government to ignore this issue. The cost of poverty in Ontario alone is

estimated to be between 27-33 billion dollars annually.

For Canadians concerned about government debt, a fully funded benefit will reduce these downstream costs, all while helping Canadians with disabilities live a life of dignity.

Visit to learn more.


Spencer van Vloten is the editor of BC Disability. To get in touch, send an email to!


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