CCD Election Challenge: Volume 1, Issue 5

Parties Make Promises to Disability Community

All the Parties have recognized the need for new measures to address the concerns of Canadians with disabilities. In the National Action Plan on Disability, the community describes a pan-Canadian strategy for ending exclusion, calling for new measures to address the poverty of people with disabilities, employment and training, access, inclusion and citizenship, and disability-related supports. The Parties have responded with their vision of how to achieve an accessible and inclusive Canada.

Conservative Party's Promises

  • Income splitting for families caring for a family member with disabilities.

In families, where there are two partners, if one partner remains at home to care for a family member with disabilities, then each partner will have the opportunity to file an income tax return on half of the earned income. The result is the payment of less tax.

The Conservatives missed the point that Canadians with disabilities have been making for the last thirty-five years. We don't want to be looked after; we want to be contributing members of society. Harper's recent announcement gives a tax break to families where one member stays home to care for a family member with a disability. While CCD acknowledges the importance of supporting and caring families, and commends the Conservative Party for making a commitment to helping families care for members with disabilities, there is disappointment that the Conservatives' first election statement on disability was based upon a model of caring for people with disabilities rather than enabling people with disabilities to help themselves. The Canadian community of persons with disabilities presented the Conservative Party, indeed all the Parties, with the National Action Plan on Disability that outlines new initiatives geared to assist people with disabilities become contributing, participating members of Canadian society, enjoying their full citizenship.

Conservative Party's Record

  • Registered Disability Savings Plan.
  • Enabling Accessibility Fund.
  • Defunded Court Challenges Program.
  • Failed to deliver a Canadians with Disabilities Act.

The Registered Disability Savings Plan provided a new way for families to nurture a nest egg for members with a disability. The Enabling Accessibility Fund provided project dollars to enhance accessibility in communities. In the National Action Plan on Disability, the disability community called for measures to address the poverty of people with disabilities and improve access in Canada.

The Conservatives defunded the Court Challenges Program which funded Charter-based test case litigation. A Canadians with Disabilities Act was promised but not delivered. The disability community shared its vision of what a federal disability act should deliver.

Liberal Party's Promises

  • Refundable Disability Tax Credit for low income Canadians who qualify for the DTC.
  • Reinstate the Court Challenges Program.

The Green Shift states: "To support lower-income Canadians with disabilities we will make the Disability Tax Credit refundable, ensuring that low-income individuals who are disabled are able to benefit from the Green Shift." The Liberal Party has promised to reinstate the Court Challenges Program. In addition to commitments on poverty, the disability community has been seeking new measures on employment and training, access, inclusion and citizenship and disability-related supports.

NDP's Promises

  • Endorsed the National Action Plan on Disability.

Specifics from the NDP platform:

  • "Implement a Canadian Disabilities Action Plan based on the vision of an inclusive and accessible Canada. Our goal is to ensure the full participation of all persons with disabilities in every aspect of life.
  • Develop and implement accessibility standards and laws for all areas under federal jurisdiction.
  • Use federal government funding to leverage improvements to employment, public transit and services. For example, we will use universal design principles in federally-funded infrastructure initiatives.
  • Make the federal disability tax credit fully refundable and accessible to all CPP disability pensioners.
  • Establish a Canadian Disability Employment Fund to assist employers under federal jurisdiction with the costs of providing reasonable accommodation.
  • Establish specific targets within labour market agreements negotiated with the provinces and territories to assist those with disabilities.
  • Create a Canadian Disability Accommodation Commissioner to advise Parliament and the responsible minister on issues affecting persons with disabilities.
  • Support a pan-Canadian strategy to stop violence and abuse of disabled persons.
  • Establish nation-wide goals to ensure that every Canadian in need of non-acute care will receive an appropriate level of care, including home care.
  • Immediately implement the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, which Canada signed."
  • "In addition, New Democrats will initiate a significant anti-poverty agenda with built-in targets and timelines aimed at eliminating poverty in Canada by 2020. And we will institute a "Bring Canada Home" national affordable housing program that will include funding for supportive housing for those with special physical and mental health needs.
  • The NPD has further pledged to work with provinces and territories to develop long-term strategies to better manage chronic diseases and lifelong medical disabilities and conditions. We will also establish Mental Health Crisis Response Centres to foster better care and shorter wait times.
  • We will eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities in Canada's immigration admission processes."

The NDP delivered a promise on every major area of the National Action Plan on Disability.

Green Party's Promises

  • Endorsed the National Action Plan on Disability.

Specifics from the Green Platform:

"Canadians with disabilities and their families live with disproportionate levels of poverty and exclusion. To better understand the underlying factors, the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) and the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) commissioned the Caledon Institute of Social Policy to study the situation and propose solutions. It concludes that:

  1. Canadians with disabilities are more likely to live in poverty than other Canadians. Poverty is both a result of exclusion and lack of supports, and it contributes to further exclusion and vulnerability in a 'vicious cycle';
  2. Children with disabilities are twice as likely as other children to live in households that rely on social assistance as a main source of income;
  3. Poverty rates of Canadians with disabilities result in large part from the lack of needed disability supports, which enable access to education, training, employment, and community participation;
  4. Canadians with disabilities are too often exiled to inadequate, stigmatizing and ineffective systems of income support that were never designed to address the real income needs of Canadians with disabilities; and,
  5. The federal government has a key role to play in addressing the poverty and income security needs of Canadians—they have done this through Employment Insurance, CPP/QPP, Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, the National Child Benefit, and Child Disability Benefit and various tax measures.

The Caledon Institute proposes that the federal government invest in a new initiative, which they have called the Basic Income Programme to best provide the support that Canadians with disabilities desperately need."

While the Green Party endorsed the National Action Plan on Disability, it did not elaborate on what new initiatives it would deliver on employment, access, inclusion and citizenship and disability-related supports.

Bloc's Promises

  • "The Bloc Québécois requests that the federal government make an additional effort to improve the measures under its jurisdiction (for example, transportation or access to new technologies), and that it transfers to the government of Quebec the funding required to effectively deal with those areas under its control.

However, the Bloc Québécois also believes that, above and beyond tax credits, the social inclusion of persons with disabilities would prove easier if the following portfolios and associated funding—which in any case naturally fall under the jurisdiction of Quebec—was transferred to it.

  • Responsibility for housing. This would lead to improved adapted services and to an increase in the number of social, community and affordable housing. To this end, the Bloc requests an additional 2 million dollars to be used for the construction, renovation and transformation of social and affordable housing.
  • The transfer, without conditions, of the responsibility for employment and workforce training, which, with the assistance of the health and social services network and the education network, would improve the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the workforce.

The federal government must also resolve the issue of fiscal imbalance and must increase its transfer payments to Quebec. This would result in a drastic improvement in the number of public services provided by the Quebec government, including the policy for improving the social inclusion of persons with disabilities."

  • Reinstate the Court Challenges Program.

Check Out the Parties' Web Sites

New Identification Rules to Vote

Remember get out and vote on Election Day!

Don't forget your ID when you go out to the polls. You must prove your identity and address.

Three Options for Proving Your Identity

  1. Provide one original piece of identification issued by a government or government agency containing your photo, name and address. (Example: driver's licence)
  2. Provide two original pieces of identification authorized by the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada. Both pieces must contain your name and one must also contain your address. (Example: health card and hydro bill)
  3. Swear an oath and be vouched for by an elector who is on the list of electors in the same polling division and who has an acceptable piece or pieces of identification. (Example: a neighbour, your roommate)

Pieces of Identification authorized by the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada

Identity Cards: Health Card, Hospital Card, Social Insurance Number Card, Birth Certificate, Driver's Licence, Provincial/Territorial Identification Card, Canadian Passport, Certificate of Indian Status, Credit/Debit Card with elector name, Canadian Forces identity card, Veterans Affairs Canada Health Card, Employee Card issued by employer, Old Age Security Identification Card, Public Transportation Card, Student ID Card, Library Card, Liquor Identification Card, Canadian Blood Services Card, Fishing Licence, Hunting Licence, Fire Arm Acquisition Card, Outdoors Card and Licences, Local Community Centre Card (CLSC).

Original Documents (Containing name and address)

Credit Card Statement, Bank Statement, Utility Bill (residential telephone, cable TV, public utilities commission, hydro, gas or water), Attestation of Residence by the responsible authority of an Indian band or reserve, Local Property Tax Assessment, School, College or University Transcript, Residential Lease, Residential Mortgage Statement or Agreement, Canada Child Tax Benefit Statement, Income Tax Assessment Notice, Insurance Policy, Government Cheque or Government Cheque Stub with elector name, Statement of EI Benefits Paid (T4E), Canada/Quebec Pension Plan Statement of Contribution, Statement of Old Age Security (T4A) or Statement of CPP Benefits (T4AP), Statement of Benefits from provincial workplace safety or insurance board, Statement of Direct Deposit for provincial works or provincial disability support program, Vehicle Ownership, Vehicle Insurance, Attestation of Residence by responsible authorities (shelters, soup kitchens, student/senior residences, long-term facilities), Letter from public curator.

Each Federal Election, CCD and its members educate candidates about needed disability policy reform.

Get the National Action Plan.