The Government of Canada is providing support to help people with disabilities deal with the extra expenses they are facing during the COVID‑19 pandemic. This support includes a one-time payment to certificate holders of the Disability Tax Credit, a new National Workplace Accessibility Stream through the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities, and new investments through the Accessible Technology Program.
One-time payment for persons with disabilities
A special one-time payment of $600 will be automatically provided to individuals who are certificate holders of the Disability Tax Credit as of June 1, 2020. The payment will be provided to eligible Canadians without an application or attestation. It will be non-taxable.
Seniors who are certificate holders of the Disability Tax Credit and are eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension and/or the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will have their payments adjusted accordingly. Seniors who are certificate holders of the Disability Tax Credit and eligible for the OAS pension will receive a payment of $300, in addition to the special COVID-19 one-time OAS pension payment of $300. Those who are certificate holders of the Disability Tax Credit and are eligible for the GIS will receive a payment of $100, in addition to the combined $500 from the special COVID-19 one-time OAS pension and GIS payments. With this new support and these special payments announced last month, all seniors who are certificate holders of the Disability Tax Credit will receive a total of $600.
For certificate holders of the Disability Tax Credit who are under the age of 18, the special payment will be made to the individual who is considered primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of the child for the purposes of the Canada Child Benefit. In cases of shared custody, each parent will receive $300. Where a child who is a certificate holder of the Disability Tax Credit is maintained by an agency and the Children’s Special Allowances are paid for that child, the special payment will be made to that agency.
National Workplace Accessibility Stream of the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities
This new stream will provide additional funding to help Canadians with disabilities and their employers to improve workplace accessibility and access to jobs in response to COVID-19. Some of the activities supported by this fund will include:
- Setting up accessible and effective work-from-home measures
- Expanding online training opportunities
- Creating inclusive workplaces, whether virtual or physical
- Connecting people with disabilities and employers
- Training for in-demand jobs
- Wage subsidies
New projects from the Accessible Technology Program
The Accessible Technology Program is part of the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year strategy to create well-paying jobs for middle class Canadians. The most recent call for proposals from businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and research institutes closed in January 2020. In total, 20 projects from across Canada have received funding since the beginning of the program, including these five new projects that are currently receiving funding:
- $557,725 for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind to create accessible payment terminals for individuals with sight loss
- $106,425 for the University of Laval to develop an arm support that will allow Canadians with disabilities to use standard technology
- $199,850 for the Regional Health Authority B, operating as Horizon Health Network, to develop a system that allows Canadians with neurological conditions to interact with technology for a longer period of time
- $251,088 for Ryerson University to develop a prototype that will allow individuals with speech disabilities to navigate images to reply to written or spoken messages
- $70,307 for the Secret Study Projects to develop extended expression software with voice and Braille controls
The technologies established through these projects will help Canadians with disabilities participate more fully in the digital economy, improving quality of life and opportunities for success.
- Prime Minister announces supports for Canadians with disabilities to address challenges from COVID-19