Promise of COVID-19 funds to support disabled Canadians remains in limbo

Promise of COVID-19 funds to support disabled Canadians remains in limbo

Promise of COVID-19 funds to support disabled Canadians remains in limbo

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise to provide a payment worth up to $600 to some disabled Canadians to help with additional COVID-19 costs remains in limbo.

The measure, announced on June 5, was contained in a piece of legislation that failed to pass later that month after the Liberals didn’t win unanimous consent.

Though the House of Commons is sitting Wednesday, no bills are expected to be introduced.

A spokesperson for Carla Qualtrough, the minister in charge of the file, says the government is still working on a way forward on the benefit program.

“This financial support matters and Canadians with disabilities can have confidence that we will continue to work to find a solution to deliver this supplement,” Marielle Hossack said in an email.

“We all benefit when everyone can participate equally in our economy, and society.”

The Liberals have accused the Tories in particular of holding up the aid, arguing they were the ones who refused to pass the bill back in June.

At the time, the Conservatives were pressing for a full return to Parliament, but had also disagreed with the plan to pass the bill within a single sitting so there was no chance for experts to weigh-in or for amendments.

“The Conservatives’ choice to put politics ahead of helping people will have caused extra hardship for Canadians,” Trudeau told reporters during a stop at an Ottawa-area print shop in mid-June.

But Conservative MP Dan Albas said Tuesday the Liberals’ decision to include the measure in legislation raises questions about who exactly is playing politics.

He said that given the payment will go to Canadians who already receive the disability tax credit, the government has the information it would need to forward the money directly using an information-sharing agreement with the Canada Revenue Agency.

A bill isn’t entirely necessary, he argued, and at this point, the Liberals need to make clear which approach they will take, he said.

“The government should be helping those that need the support the most and part of that is to give them the certainty,” he said.

“The payment is important but also knowing when the payment will be and by what means.”

The program would provide a one-time, tax-free payment to people who already qualify for the disability tax credit.

The maximum payable would be $600.

The Liberals are making separate payments to seniors, so those who receive the tax credit and are eligible for the old age security pension would receive $300, and those who have the tax credit and are eligible for both OAS and the guaranteed income supplement would get $100.

That doesn’t cover everyone who need the money, the NDP’s Peter Julian said Tuesday.

“We’re trying to convince the government to extend that benefit to all Canadians with a disability,” he said.

The NDP had objected to the original bill on other grounds, including a provision that could have led to jail time for those fraudulently applying for the Canada emergency response benefit.

The Liberals had proposed hiving off the disability portion of the bill and delaying the other measures, but that failed as well.

The Conservatives have been steadfast in their demand for a total return to normal Parliamentary sittings that would provide full accountability and oversight of government activities.

At present, what’s happened most often is the gathering of a special COVID-19 committee made up of all MPs.

It gives them the chance to ask questions of the government for a few hours each sitting, and for the handling of some routine elements of Parliament, like the tabling of petitions or reports.

Wednesday’s sitting is a variation of that committee arrangement.

MPs will have the chance to press the government for around 90 minutes, before Finance Minister Bill Morneau tables a hotly anticipated fiscal “snapshot.”

The next scheduled sitting day for the House of Commons is July 22, and is expected to mirror the format for Wednesday.

Parliament is currently scheduled to fully resume on Sept. 21.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 7, 2020.

Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press

Coronavirus

Just Posted

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta launches COVID vaccine lottery with million-dollar prizes to encourage uptake

The premier says the lottery will offer three prizes worth $1 million a piece, as well as other prizes

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Member Terry Parsons’ custom built track vehicle.
Forestburg’s Area 53 Racetrack gears up for action-packed season

Site will also host a portion of the ‘Miles of Mayhem’ event in July

Sabrina Wilde in front of a recently purchased monster truck. Submitted.
Thorsby business women a finalist for 2021 Alberta Women’s Entrepreneurship Award

Sabrina Wilde with Lone Wolf Mechanical is a finalist for the entrepreneurial award.

Grade 12 students at Wetaskiwin Composite High School took place in the annual water fight off school property on June 11, 2021. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Graduating students in Wetaskiwin throw water fight after being told it could result in suspension

Students were told their participation could result in them being barred from graduation ceremonies.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

Most Read