June 8th, 2021
NDP: Liberal budget leaves Canadians living with disabilities behind
OTTAWA – Prior to the pandemic, people in Canada living with disabilities were in many cases legislated into poverty by governments unwilling to provide anywhere near an adequate level of support. The past year has only made things worse, and the Liberals continue to deny people living with disabilities the support they need.
“Instead of building a more inclusive Canada, Liberals offer endless platitudes and are utterly failing to understand the urgent need to support people living with disabilities. Enough is enough,” said the NDP Critic for Disability Inclusion, Daniel Blaikie (Elmwood-Transcona). “Last month’s budget has only shown us that the Liberals will not stick to their commitments to support the needs of those living with disabilities.”
In their post-prorogation Throne Speech in September 2020, the Trudeau government made a flurry of commitments to people living with disabilities under the rubric of a new Disability Inclusion Plan. This plan was supposed to include a new income benefit for people living with disabilities modelled after the Guaranteed Income Supplement.
The omission of a timeline left many Canadians skeptical. The budget confirmed their fears; the new benefit will remain a mere talking point for years to come while people living with disabilities continue to struggle.
“Rather than invest in critical support in the recent federal budget, the Liberals announced a three-year consultation to inform the design of the new Disability Benefit,” added Blaikie. “This is another sign that Liberals are focused on getting back to the status quo, rather than building back better. Sadly, it is people living with disabilities struggling with poverty, not members of the Liberal caucus, who will continue paying the price of the government’s heel-dragging.
The NDP believes that we cannot build an inclusive Canada without investments in the supports and programs that people living with disabilities urgently need. This budget didn’t live up to the hype, but the NDP will continue to urge the Liberals to work with us to get support out the door instead of delaying action for three more years.