‘It’s Discriminatory’: Regina Advocacy Group Challenges Government on Disability Program in Court

Angela Stewart
Video Journalist – CTV News Regina
Published Feb. 10, 2024

A Regina advocacy group says the provincial government is being discriminatory when it comes to those on the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) program.

The Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry is claiming the government is forcing those who are on the program to take out their Canada Pension Plan money at age 60.

“It’s discriminatory because people who are forced to take out their CPP early due to disability then have to deal with the long range consequences of poverty because they were forced,” said Peter Gilmer, an advocate with the group.

Gilmer says those who have to take out their pension early will have fewer benefits when they turn 65.

“If they refuse to take out their CPP early then they are cut off of SAID benefits all together, obviously we find that problematic,” he said.

The charter challenge was filed in March of 2023.

Lawyers representing the group say the government’s policy goes against Section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“It violates what the federal government intended and one because it is contrary to the charter and specifically the right for disabled people to be treated equal,” said Leif Jensen, a lawyer for the group.

The Ministry of Social Services was not able to comment further as the matter is before the courts.

Jensen says around 13 per cent of people with disabilities in the province who are reliant on the SAID program are at a disadvantage.

He says they will have less money when they turn 65.

“We need to keep in mind that people who are on SAID, they are on this program because they need to be on this program, they have no alternative but to be on the program,” he added.

The group hopes a decision is reached on the case in the next three to six months.

Original at https://regina.ctvnews.ca/it-s-discriminatory-regina-advocacy-group-challenges-government-on-disability-program-in-court-1.6764034