Information Session about Canada Disability Benefit – August 23, 2023

The above mentioned X post is transcribed as below:

Am in a public meeting with ESDC about the #CDB. I will post here whatever important/interesting information are given today.

What they heard (non-exhaustive) : government is aware it needs to work on making applications easy. Definitions of disabilities used in different programs can cause confusion. There are concern about benefit coordination with other programs and clawbacks.

Need for intersectional approach, for a well thought interaction with employment revenues. 

Government says they will use the testimonies, briefs, etc. to establish regulations.

ESDC says individuals with disabilities will have several ways to participate in the consultation:
– Comments via the website
– Focus groups / roundtables
– Written statements

More about the regulatory process:
– First step: consult the community. Then, proposals are refined based on feedback.
– Second step: publishing of draft regulations in the Canada Gazette by the Department of Justice.
They have to be approved by the Treasury board of Canada. 
– Third step: people have 65 days to comment on the draft regulations. You can comment directly on the Canada Gazette website. 
– Fourth step: at the end of the 65 days period, comments are made available publicly. Government analyzes comments and work to revise regs.

Final step: government adopts and publishes the final regulations. It has to be approved by the Governor general on the advise of the Treasury board.

Note that the steps numbers I’ve given have been presented slightly differently by the presenter. I’ve just made them clearer.

The regs will have elements on eligibility, application, benefit amount, rules for specific situations, payment, appeals, penalties, and more. Regulations will keep on evolving (which means they could think about a stage roll-out…).

ESDC say they want to have an inclusive, accessible consultation. They also want to have an intersectional approach and are welcoming recommendations in terms of which organizations to consult.

They will also work with provincial/territorial (PTs) governments.

A report will be prepared on the consultation process once it is finished. It will be presented 6 months after the law coming into force.

We’re now (already) in the question period

How will the consultation process be inclusive? 
– ESDC will use an intersectional approach, with online mechanisms, roundtables, and inclusion of marginalized communities. (Nothing super specific yet).

Will there be opportunities for organizations to receive funding to engage with the community?

– It was done in 2021 through the consultation on the Disability Action Plan. Independent Living Canada and Muscular Dystrophy lead the consultation.

Timelines of the reg phase: 

– The actual law as to come into force not later than June 22, 2024. 
– Regulations must be adopted at the very latest by June 2025 (I might have misheard?!) but they want to do it faster. 

How can organizations participate?

– Keep up to date with what ESDC will publish over the fall. 
– Briefs and written submissions are welcome at any time. 
– There will be an online portal to submit briefs as well. 

How will the Benefit respect Canada’s international obligations?

– Will be developed according to Canada’s international and domestic obligations. Will have stakeholders, experts and others contribute to the discussion. 

(I know these are pretty vague answers, I’m just letting you know what is being presented to us) 

I missed one question. Another question: “how will nothing about is without us work? How will the hardest to reach be consulted?

– it is important to ESDC. They’re building on some of the things they’ve done already and identifying gaps. They welcome any cues and help.

Will the consultation be all online? Will there be a formal written feedback process?

There is a specific email address for the consultation. You can submit written reports/suggestions. No formal call for proposals will be issued but ESDC will have a section on its website 

What poverty line will be used? How will Canada conform to its poverty reduction obligation?

It’s the objective to alleviate poverty and we’ll continue exchanging on the issue (No clear answer or I didn’t understand their response anyway) 

When will money reach pple? How will pple not affiliated with a dis. org be consulted? Will there be a DERB?

No timeline yet, outside of the some general deadlines.
ESDC will leverage its network to help. A lot of individuals are sending in messages as well.
Can’t say. 

How will individuals be consulted?

– ESDC will try to reach a balance between consulting orgs and individuals. 

It’s still not clear how this would work. 

(Just a note: I’m skipping some questions that do not get a clear answer or that I do not understand. It doesn’t mean they’re not good questions, just that my audio broke or that I had a hard time following what was said)

How will indigenous community be consulted? How is the additional cost of disabilities taken into consideration?

– Will work with orgs but is happy to receive suggestions. Offers to connect.
– It’s unclear at this point, but it is taken into consideration.

Can the process be made plain language so that more people can participate? 

– That’s the intention. They are working with other partners to do that and to reach out to marginalized groups. Are happy to receive any help or suggestions.

Let’s make the process more of a dialogue rather than a one-way street. Will there be one regulation or several regulations rolling out successively?

– There will be one “package” with all regulations together. 

“Do you consider this a codesign process, if so, how?” ouch. Who will be invited to roundtables, and what will be the objectives?

– ** crickets **
– Roundtables: we’re going to focus on areas with less feedback and experiential knowledge. 

Would it be possible to provide more feedback on concrete regulation elements?

– There will be consultations on specific topics covered by the regs. 
– It will get more specific as the process advances.
– Still have to respect the regulatory process at the end of the day.

The meeting is over. Honestly, not much to reflect on… 

The biggest takeaway is that it doesn’t look like cocreation, but it might change. ESDC is very open to collaborations. We’ll have more details in the coming weeks. 

I just want to say ESDC personnel was doing their best to answer questions. They also have to follow rules and all, so it was pretty much what you’d expect. No grudge against them at all. 

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