Feb 6, 2024

Fund The Benefit: Member of Parliament (MP) follow-up guide

Food is a human right. Yet people with disabilities are regularly forced to choose between their most basic necessities, like rent, transportation, medication, and food. This has to change.

In November 2023, Daily Bread Food Bank launched the www.fundthebenefit.ca campaign to advocate for a fully funded Canada Disability Benefit (CDB) in the upcoming 2024 Federal Budget.

We’re proud that over 40 organizations have signed onto the campaign, and we recently came together to publish an open letter to the Prime Minister and members of the Federal Government in the Globe and Mail and Hill Times. Over 12,000 people have sent letters to their Members of Parliament (MPs) through www.fundthebenefit.ca calling for a fully funded CDB, but we can’t stop now.

If you have already taken action by sending a letter to your MP, you might be wondering how you can continue to take action. Read on to learn how you can keep raising your voice!

The Federal Budget is expected in late March/early April, but it’s not too late to follow up with your MP and request a meeting with them to reaffirm the importance of the CDB.

Remember, MPs are your public representatives, and they work for you! Our Research & Advocacy team has put together a guide to assist you with some next steps:

1. You can find your MP here: https://www.ourcommons.ca/members/en

2. Send an email to follow up or request a virtual meeting. In your invite, let the MP know:

  • That you live in their riding.
  • The purpose of the meeting/email is to discuss the Canada Disability Benefit and why the issue is important to you as a resident.

3. At the meeting or in the email, here are some points you can raise:

  • Canadians are facing an affordability crisis. People with disabilities are disproportionately impacted — they are twice as likely to be living in poverty as those without disabilities.
  • One in seven people who access food banks in Canada rely on provincial disability income supports, leaving them trapped in deep poverty.
  • Parliament unanimously passed Bill C-22: the Canada Disability Benefit Act this past summer, which commits the federal government to creating a new income support to reduce poverty among low-income, working-age Canadians with disabilities.
  • The government is now working on the regulations which will define who is eligible for the benefit, the benefit amount, and how it will be administered.
  • The benefit must:
    • Be fully funded to lift people with disabilities out of poverty.
    • Be barrier-free and inclusive of people with all types of disabilities.
    • Supplement existing disability supports and be safe from all clawbacks.
  • Time is of the essence – people with disabilities cannot afford to wait.

4. Here are some questions you can ask:

  • Have you received emails/postcards/letters from your constituents about the importance of the Canada Disability Benefit?
  • Do you have any insights to share on the status of the development of regulations and funding allocation?
  • If your MP is a Liberal – Will you raise the importance of fully funding the Canada Disability Benefit in the 2024 budget with Cabinet?
  • If your MP is Conservative, NDP, Bloc, Independent or Green – Will you ask a question in question period to gauge whether the government plans to fully fund the Canada Disability Benefit in the 2024 budget?

5. Follow up with a thank you note and restate the importance of a fully funded Canada Disability Benefit in the 2024 Federal Budget – people with disabilities cannot afford to wait anymore.

Thank you for your support! If you have any questions or comments, please contact [email protected] or learn more about the campaign at fundthebenefit.ca.

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