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Government of Canada Marks International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Government has introduced numerous initiatives to support persons with disabilities and their families

December 3, 2014 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Finance

Finance Minister Joe Oliver and Minister of State (Finance) Kevin Sorenson today marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and highlighted the Government of Canada’s significant support for Canadians with disabilities and their families.

Recently, the Government announced additional tax relief and increased benefits for all families with minor children. As part of this package of measures, the Government has proposed to increase the maximum amounts that can be claimed for the Child Care Expense Deduction. For children who are eligible for the Disability Tax Credit, this amount would increase to $11,000 from $10,000, effective for the 2015 and subsequent taxation years.

Quick Facts

Since 2006, the Government of Canada has introduced a number of measures to address the needs of persons with disabilities, including:

  • Introducing the Registered Disability Savings Plan to help individuals with severe disabilities—and their families—save for their long-term financial security;
  • Providing $1 billion for renovations and energy retrofits of social housing, including renovations that support people with disabilities;
  • Investing $400 million over two years for the construction of new social housing for seniors, including seniors with disabilities, and investing an additional $75 million over two years for the construction of new social housing units for people with disabilities;
  • Investing $20 million per year for two years to improve the accessibility of federally owned buildings;
  • Introducing the Family Caregiver Tax Credit to support caregivers of infirm dependent family members, and removing the $10,000 limit on eligible expenses that caregivers can claim under the Medical Expense Tax Credit in respect of a dependant relative;
  • Increasing the Child Disability Benefit and the maximum amount of the Refundable Medical Expense Supplement, and extending eligibility for the Medical Expense Tax Credit;
  • Introducing the Working Income Tax Benefit, which includes a supplement for persons with disabilities, and subsequently doubling the total tax relief provided by the benefit;
  • Increasing the Home Buyers’ Plan withdrawal limit and introducing the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit, which both contain special provisions for persons with disabilities;
  • Increasing access to post-secondary education for students with permanent disabilities, including a new Repayment Assistance Plan for Borrowers with a Permanent Disability;
  • Introducing a new generation of Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities, with an investment of $222 million per year, to better meet the employment needs of businesses and improve the employment prospects for persons with disabilities;
  • Maintaining ongoing funding of $40 million per year for the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities, starting in 2015–16, and reforming the program to provide more demand-driven training solutions for persons with disabilities;
  • Providing ongoing funding of $15 million per year for the Enabling Accessibility Fund. This Fund supports capital costs of construction and renovations to improve physical accessibility for persons with disabilities through projects with demonstrated community support, including workplace accommodation;
  • Consulting on a National Strategy for Financial Literacy, which includes a specific focus on persons with disabilities and other priority groups; and
  • Investing $2 million to support the creation of the Canadian Employers Disability Forum, now called Canadian Business SenseAbility.

The annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities was proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations to promote a better understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of the benefits of integrating persons with disabilities into every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

Quotes

“Our Government firmly believes in the important contribution that persons with disabilities make to Canadian society and Canada’s economy. That is why our Government has introduced many measures to support Canadians with disabilities by increasing their participation in the labour market, and helping them pursue an education and enjoy a better quality of life. From introducing the innovative Registered Disability Savings Plan to recent tax relief measures such as the Family Caregiver Tax Credit and the increase in the dollar limit for the Child Care Expense Deduction, our Government is proud to be a world leader in providing support to persons with disabilities and their families.”

Joe Oliver, Minister of Finance

“Our Government is hard at work to ensure our country benefits from the talents of Canadians with disabilities. Today, and throughout the year, we will continue to help ensure Canadians with disabilities are active participants not only in their communities, but also in the country’s economic future, through initiatives such as the National Strategy on Financial Literacy, which includes a specific focus on breaking down barriers for Canadians with disabilities and improving their financial literacy.”

Kevin Sorenson, Minister of State (Finance)

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