In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
~ Albert Schweitzer

Sunday, January 15, 2023

#Where's The Bill?

Following up on my last update on the Canada Disability Benefit, I have some more news to share.

According to Disability Without Poverty, during the Committee process a few positive changes have been adopted, including
  • indexing the benefit to inflation; 
  • a requirement that agreements with provinces and territories be made public;
  • a requirement that people with disabilities be meaningfully engaged in developing regulations; and
  • requiring the Official Poverty Line to be considered in setting the benefit. 
As for what's next, once Parliament re-opens on January 30, Bill C-22 must be put on the agenda so the the HUMA committee report can be presented and voted on. This vote will move the Bill into Third Reading and eventually the Senate. After the Senate passes Bill C-22 and it receives royal assent, it will become law.

The Regulations
In my mind, the most important of the amendments set out above might just be the requirement that people with disabilities be meaningfully engaged in developing regulations. 

As I've noted before, passing legislation is far from the end of the story. Regulations are always important in that they flesh out the legislation and deal with important details. They often contain some of the meat and the teeth of the law.

However, in this case, they're even more important because unfortunately, the legislation, itself, tells us very little. The proposed legislation isn't much more than a bare bones skeleton.

All we know is that those eligible (nothing tells us who that might be) will be paid a Canada Disability Benefit. [ss. 4-5] 

Other than that, the only other thing of import is that this "benefit" (however much it might be) can't be taken in cases of bankruptcy, garnished if you owe someone money or otherwise be taken away by operation of law. [sec. 9] **

Good news to be sure but .... how much and to whom? Kind of important details, wouldn't you agree? 

Sadly (and ironically), if this legislation became law today, not a single Canadian (with or without a disability) would benefit. It wouldn't even make a good paperweight, given how short it is. 

This is why  the requirement that people with disabilities (and presumably their allies) must be meaningfully engaged in developing the regulations is so crucial.

And time passes.

** Fortunately, this includes the Dept of Community Services. They won't be unable to claw the benefit back. Now that's worth celebrating.

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