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CNIB Reacts to Government of Canada Budget 2024

The Government of Canada released Budget 2024 and announced that the long-awaited Canada Disability Benefit will start in July 2025, pending a regulatory design process. The benefit will be funded with $6.1 billion over the next six years. 

This investment equates to a proposed maximum of $200 per month for eligible recipients who qualify for the Disability Tax Credit. Further, Budget 2024 does not invest in a strategy or programs that enable people who are blind or have low vision to join the workforce. 

While the passage of the Canada Disability Benefit Act was an important first step, CNIB joins the growing list of organizations and advocates calling on the government to commit to more support to lift people with disabilities out of poverty.  

“The announcement in this budget will not significantly impact anyone’s bottom line and will not remove people who are blind or partially sighted from poverty. A maximum benefit of $200 per month, or $6 a day, does not substantially improve the financial security of the disability community.”  

John M. Rafferty, President and CEO of CNIB

CNIB has been advocating for the Canada Disability Benefit program to be implemented in tandem with a national employment strategy for people with disabilities.  

“One of the major contributing factors behind this benefit is that the employment landscape in this country is not equitable or inclusive for Canadians who are blind or low vision,” said Rafferty. “While CNIB is supportive of the benefit – and critical of the level of funding that is being provided for people who need this benefit – we’re even more critical of the fact that there is nothing in Budget 2024 that addresses employment levels for those who can work and want to work.” 

Based on CNIB’s 2018 International Level of Employment Study, only 28% of Canadians with sight loss work full-time.   

During the passage of the Canada Disability Benefit Act, CNIB urged the Government of Canada to ensure that the development and implementation of the Act is done in tandem with a national employment strategy for people with disabilities. This strategy must consider skills development, the cognitive load of job seeking, culture change of employers, accessibility enhancements to the workplace, a national assistive devices program, mentorship opportunities, and continuous professional development.   

CNIB will continue to call on the government to fully enhance the monthly benefit amount while rolling out a national employment strategy that supports people with disabilities in finding meaningful employment.   

Click HERE for the press release.

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