Council of Canadians with Disabilities Acknowledges COVID-19 Supports to Persons with Disabilities

Media Release

For Immediate Release | June 8, 2020

Canadians with disabilities have been watching for weeks as the federal government has announced numerous financial support programs to help various specific citizen groups or demographics in managing the cost impacts of COVID-19. For Canadians with disabilities, the lack of specific support has seen them fall between the cracks. To date, the only funding announced for people with disabilities was funding for students with disabilities enrolled in college and universities. However, for many students with disabilities, and for those caring for children and older adults, the funding is out of reach due to qualification restrictions.

New financial aid to support some persons with disabilities was announced on the last day of National AccessAbility Week. This one-time tax-free payment of up to $600 is designed to offset the financial pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic for only those who hold a disability tax credit certificate. "CCD is pleased to see the federal government respond to the disability community, however, we are concerned with the number of Canadians with disabilities who continue to fall through the cracks in the response to COVID-19,” stated Jewelles Smith, CCD Chairperson.

“This payment will go to existing disability tax credit certificate holders, which includes parents with children or dependents with disabilities, seniors, veterans and many other Canadians that we know have costs associated with severe and prolonged disabilities,” Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough said on Friday.

CCD acknowledges this as a step in the right direction, however with this one-time support program being made available to only some with disabilities, and being likely one of the last financial aid packages to be offered, this support falls short of what CCD had expected. Smith noted, “Many people with disabilities do not receive or support someone registered for the disability tax credit, yet they are impacted by COVID-19. We strongly urge the government to create a response for all Canadians."

In light of the Prime Minister’s direction earlier this year as outlined in the Mandate Letter for the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau set out the commitment “to ensure a consistent approach to disability inclusion and supports across government that addresses the unfairness and inequities in government programs and services, and challenges the biases built into government,” CCD is pleased with the announcement by the federal government of two new accessibility-focused programs. In the Prime Minister’s announcement Friday, one program will see $15 million go to community organizations to develop programs and expand current training opportunities with focus on national workplace accessibility. The second will see a $1.8 million fund being shared between five projects to develop accessible technology that will allow Canadians with disabilities to use standard technology.

More is needed to support those already living on a low income and facing increased expenses due to the pandemic, many of whom are not existing disability tax certificate holders such as those who live with episodic disabilities. Approximately 1.2 million Canadians will be eligible for this one-time top-up, yet among working-age Canadians with disabilities, more than 1.5 million are not attached to the labour market or are unemployed.
“We know this pandemic has deeply affected the lives and health of all Canadians and disproportionately affected Canadians with disabilities in particular,” Qualtrough said. “We also recognize that persons with disabilities are at a higher risk of job loss during economic downturns.”

With financial aid program falling short to address the needs of people with disabilities, this clearly demonstrates more work is needed to ensure all federal programs are developed through a disability lens and in a manner that is timely and responsive to this community.

About CCD
CCD is a national human rights organization of people with disabilities working for an inclusive and accessible Canada.

The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) is a social justice organization of people with all disabilities that champions the voices of people with disabilities, advocating an inclusive and accessible Canada, where people with disabilities have full realization of their human rights, as described in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) unites advocacy organizations of people with disabilities to defend and extend human rights for persons with disabilities through public education, advocacy, intervention in litigation, research, consultation and partnerships. CCD amplifies the expertise of our partners by acting as a convening body and consensus builder.

For More Information Contact:

Jewelles Smith, CCD Chairperson,
John Rae, 2nd Vice Chair and Chair of CCD Social Policy Committee, Telephone: 416-941-1547, Email: