‘Overwhelming Support’ for Disability Benefit Complicated by Slow Implementation, Survey Finds

Mitchell Consky
CTVNews.ca Journalist
Published April 8, 2024

As Canada’s Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland prepares to deliver the federal government’s budget next week, new data suggests overwhelming support for the Canada Disability Benefit, a form of financial support for people living with disabilities signed into law last June.

According to a survey from the Angus Reid Institute, 91 per cent of respondents claim to support the proposed Canada Disability Benefit.

Such support spans the political spectrum, the research suggests, with 83 per cent of past Conservative voters and 98 per cent of past Liberal voters in favour of the benefit. Up to 99 per cent of past NDP voters and 98 per cent of Bloc QuebAcois voters also share support for disability resources being factored into the federal budget, according to the survey.

In an interview with CTV News last September, Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities Kamal Khera called the benefit a “generational national program.”

“I think it’s really important that we find the balance between, of course, the expediency and the care that it needs to make sure we get it right, with engagement with the community. So, that’s exactly what I’m committed to in this new role,” Khera told CTV News.

Khera’s comments emerged against a backdrop of criticism from Canadians over the government’s slow pace of disability resource implementation.

According to Angus Reid, only one-in-20 (five per cent) of respondents report feeling “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.”

The benefit, titled Bill C-22, passed Parliament on June 20, 2023. The federal government estimated that it would take more than a year to establish.

The data shows that Canadians across the political spectrum believe the current resources available for those living with disabilities are largely inadequate, with 58 per cent of past Conservative voters, 66 per cent of past Liberal voters and 77 per cent of NDP voters describing disability support as “insufficient.”

“As the federal government’s Canada Disability Benefit has been discussed, the province’s have mulled how they might treat the new benefit and whether they would claw back their own supports for people living with disabilities,” reads an Angus Reid report highlighting the survey findings.

“Advocates worry this would counteract the federal benefit’s goal of lifting Canadians living with disabilities out of poverty.”

Methodology

The Angus Reid Institute in partnership with Daily Bread and Disability Without Poverty conducted an online survey from March 26-28, 2024 among a representative randomized sample of 1,610 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. The survey was self-commissioned and paid for jointly by ARI, Daily Bread and Disability Without Poverty.

Original at https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/overwhelming-support-for-disability-benefit-complicated-by-slow-implementation-survey-finds-1.6837126