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  • Writer's pictureMaggie O'Brien

Bill C-22: The Canada Disability Act

Updated: Apr 12

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House of Commons

Initially, a Disability Bill was first introduced to parliament in Canada but was terminated during the last election. In June 2021, the Employment Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Minister Carla Qualtrough brought Bill C-22 back to the table. According to the Globe and Mail "Bill C-22, the Canada Disability Benefit Act, sailed through a final House of Commons vote this month, with not a single MP opposing the bill".

The Charter Statement on Bill C-22 explains that it is an act to reduce poverty and support the financial security of persons with disability with amendments to the Income Tax Act. This bill looks to provide a disability benefit and reduce poverty of those with disabilities. Please read the bill here

Presently, this Bill C-22 sits in the hands of the Standing Senate Committee; however, the problem with the bill is it is lacking details in terms of what benefits it would give and how one would qualify. The Senate Committee is questioning the lack of detailed information about the bill's application. At this point, many individuals and groups are reaching out to their Members of Parliament and Senators to express concerns with the Bill namely clawbacks by insurance companies resulting in only the insurer benefiting.

How You Can Get Involved and Help to Advocate!

Fibromyalgia Associaton Canada (FAC) is requesting those with fibromyalgia write their senate members, and has provided a template letter to make it easier to do so. You may go to FAC's website and follow the directions there and email your Senators. The website provides the names of Senators for each province. In order to make changes, those living with fibromyalgia must email their senators and get involved. Together, we can make changes.

Subject: Re: Bill C-22 - Canada Disability Benefit

Dear (enter the Senator's name),

People with disabilities need to know they are a priority for their federal representatives. I write to you today and urge your continued support of Bill C-22, an Act to reduce poverty and to support the financial security of persons with disabilities by establishing the Canada Disability Benefit. As you and your colleagues prepare to review this important Bill, I am urging you to actively support the prioritization of Bill C-22, the Canada Disability Benefit, as a first order of business.

I am one of almost 2 million people in Canada with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a very debilitating and disabling illness with no cure and no real treatment options. People with fibromyalgia experience a significant amount of pain, disability, and a reduced quality of life, with regard to social, psychological, and financial well-being. Many people with fibromyalgia can no longer work and are forced to rely on Disability Benefits, which leave them struggling to survive well below the poverty line. Given the current state of the economy, Disability Benefits often have people having to choose between paying their rent and eating.

Unless you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia you cannot possibly understand how disabling this illness is. Fibromyalgia is an invisible illness so people with this condition are often mistaken for malingerers. This is so far from the truth. The public perception of fibromyalgia is that it is not that serious and that it is just aches and pains everyone gets at some time in their lives. Society does not take into account our extreme fatigue that is not relieved by sleep, our cognitive impairments, i.e., losing track of thought mid-sentence, and the intensity of our pain, which has been rated just below childbirth on the McGill pain scale.

I would like to ensure that the voices of the people with fibromyalgia in Canada are heard and represented in Bill C-22.

I am asking for your support on this non-partisan issue. I am urging you to work in collaboration with all senators representing different parties to finish this job. Please prioritize this as a first order of business. We cannot afford to take a risk to delay this foundational legislation. This bill needs to be debated and ensure that there is more equality for people with disabilities. I think this legislation should be linked with Seniors Benefits and National Pharmacare.

People with disabilities are counting on our federal officials to do what is necessary to end disability poverty. We are urging you to prioritize and fast-track Bill C-22 and vote in favour so it can become law and enable the regulatory process to get started.

I am imploring you to help improve the life of people on disability. I look forward to and thank you for your support.


Insert your Name

I wanted to send a big thank you to Fibromyalgia Association Canada for doing the leg work and making advocacy simple! We appreciate it.

Fibromyalgia Association Canada (FAC)

Permission received to use templates and images from FAC thankyou!

Don’t Forget to Help Out!

As always, we need each other to improve the lives of each other living with fibromyalgia and other comorbidities. So, show your support and copy and paste your letter to your appropriate senators! Become a member of FAC and volunteer! Don't forget to always return the love and support one another.

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