Canada’s unions are marking December 3 – the International Day of Persons with Disabilities – by joining workers and advocates across the county in calling on the federal government to fast-track the design and implementation of the Canada Disability Benefit.
“For years, the disability community has been sounding the alarm on the urgent need for improvements and reforms to Canada’s patchwork system of disability benefits,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “People continue to fall through the cracks due to the inadequacy of current programs and income supports, and also because of barriers to both eligibility and accessing benefits.”
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic, and cultural life.
COVID-19 further exacerbated barriers and challenges, with Statistics Canada reporting that more than one-third of people with long-term conditions or disabilities experienced a temporary or permanent job loss or reduced hours during the pandemic. 61% of those surveyed reported a major or moderate impact from COVID-19 on at least one financial obligation or essential need.
Disability-led groups and allies are calling on the government to centre the needs of people with disabilities in the country’s pandemic recovery plans by working closely with people with disabilities to expedite the development and implementation of the Canada Disability Benefit and put an end to disability poverty.
“We must redouble our efforts to create an inclusive and accessible society, where all people have the means to live with dignity,” said Bruske. “A new Canada Disability Benefit would be a game-changer for people with disabilities and their families. We must also improve employment security and accessibility at work, and make care services more accessible so people with disabilities can fully participate in the labour force.”
Join the call to fast-track the design and implementation of the Canada Disability Benefit by signing this parliamentary petition:
Learn more about disability rights at work: