• Torjman, S. (2024) Dignity by Design: The Canada Disability Benefit. Canadian Standards Association, Toronto, ON.

Executive Summary

The 2020 Throne Speech announced the federal government’s commitment to a Disability Inclusion Action Plan, which promised the introduction of the new Canada Disability Benefit (CDB). The CDB represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to tackle the deep and disproportionately high rates of poverty among persons with disabilities.

The Canada Disability Benefit Act will come into force by June 22, 2024. The Act itself is skeletal, setting out the intent of the legislation and associated principles. Its objectives are to reduce poverty and support the financial security of working-age persons with disabilities. Details of the CDB design are currently being developed and must be enacted by no later than June 22, 2025.

Designing a new benefit from “square one” offers the opportunity to put forward an optimal design, but also involves many challenging choices and potential trade-offs.

This report explores a series of factors and considerations for the design and delivery of the CDB, and outlines 10 key features related to eligibility, adequacy, and administrative procedure that should be embedded within the new benefit.