What is in Budget 2018 for Persons with Disabilities?
Budget 2018 –Analysis by Ron McKinnon, MP
What is in Budget 2018 for persons with disabilities?
Increased benefits under the Canada Workers Benefit (CWB, formerly the Working Income Tax Benefit) in 2019. Workers with disabilities may benefit from this general enhancement, and those eligible for the Disability Tax Credit may also benefit from an additional enhancement of the CWB disability supplement.
Expansion of the Medical Expense Tax Credit to include costs for psychiatric service dogs, for the 2018 and future tax years, in recognition of the role they can play in helping Canadians cope with conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder.
This measure will directly benefit veterans and others in the disability community who rely on psychiatric service dogs and complements the work of organizations that support them, such as the Royal Canadian Legion, and Paws Fur Thought.
$20 million over five years in two new initiatives to better support the needs of Canadians experiencing autism spectrum disorder and their families. This will include the creation an Autism-Intellectual-Developmental Disabilities National Resource and Exchange Network to develop online resources, an inventory of services, employment opportunities and local programming for families across the country, based on their specific needs. Funding will also be provided to support community-based projects that will support innovative program models, help reduce stigma, and support the integration of health, social and educational programs to better serve the complex needs of families.
$46 million over five years for a new program to develop and enhance pre-apprenticeship training, starting in 2018-19 and $10 million per year thereafter. Working in partnership with provinces, territories, post-secondary institutions, training providers, unions and employers, it will help Canadians, particularly underrepresented groups including women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and newcomers, to explore the trades, gain work experience, make informed career choices and develop the skills needed to succeed.
Budget 2018 also confirms that the Government will move forward with changes to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) that will provide a top-up benefit for disabled retirement pension recipients under the age of 65 and increase retirement benefits under the CPP Enhancement for persons with severe and prolonged disabilities.
Over $3 billion over five years for research and researchers and the tools and equipment they need to succeed. The Government is requiring that the federal granting councils put forward new plans and targets to ensure greater diversity of research funding recipients, including greater support for people with disabilities, women, minorities and under-represented groups.
$23.6 million over four years, starting in 2018-19, to the Rick Hansen Institute to support creating more accessible and inclusive communities with research aimed at better treatment and higher quality of life for people living with spinal cord injuries.
$20.3 million over five years starting in 2018-19, and $3.6 million ongoing, to establish a Public Service Centre on Diversity, Inclusion and Wellness within the Treasury Board Secretariat. This funding will provide leadership and integrated support to federal departments and agencies in creating safe, healthy, respectful, diverse and inclusive workplaces.
$3 million over five years, starting in 2018-19, for pay transparency requirements to provide Canadians with information on pay practices of employers in the federally regulated sector in support of the Government’s objective to address the gender wage gap. This will help to highlight those employers who model equitable pay practices, as well as hold employers accountable for wage gaps that affect women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities and visible minorities.
The Government is announcing the creation of an Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare which will conduct an economic and social assessment of domestic and international models and will recommend options on how to move forward on this important subject.
Canada’s National Housing Strategy is a $40 billion, 11-year plan that was launched on November 22, 2017, which will help ensure that Canadians have access to housing that meets their needs and that they can afford. It includes:
$15.9 billion under a National Housing Co-Investment Fund administered through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to build and repair affordable housing integrated with supports and services to address critical housing issues. The Fund will prioritize support for vulnerable citizens, including persons with disabilities, and will improve accessibility by promoting universal design and proximity to transit and services.
$1.1 billion to provinces and territories in flexible funding (to be cost-matched) to support key priorities for affordable housing, which may include initiatives to support safe, independent living for Canada’s persons with disabilities, seniors and other individuals requiring accessibility modifications.
$1.8 billion over 10 years for cultural and recreational infrastructure including $77 million in additional funding for the Enabling Accessibility Fund to improve the safety and accessibility of community spaces.
$900 million over six years to boost skills training and employment supports for unemployed and underemployed Canadians, including persons with disabilities, under the new Workforce Development Agreements.
$22.3 million over five years to establish a new Accessible Technology Development program that will make it easier for Canadians with disabilities to more fully participate in the digital economy.
Nurse practitioners were added to the list of medical practitioners that can certify the impacts of impairments for Disability Tax Credit applicants.
$4 million over two years to the Enabling Accessibility Fund to improve the accessibility of public spaces.