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Regina Food Bank pushing feds to fully fund disability initiative

The Regina Food Bank (RFB) and its partners are working on an advocacy campaign to push the federal government to fully fund the Canada Disability Benefit.

The benefit is part of a national initiative for funded benefits. The advocacy campaign aims to get the benefit fully funded to give opportunities for those with disabilities to get above the poverty line.

“Potentially find a way out of food bank lines (and) also into a place where they’re a little bit more empowered to go through daily life without having that significant financial pressure,” said John Bailey, CEO of the Regina Food Bank.

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“Fifteen (to) 20 per cent of the folks we serve are receiving disability as a primary source of income. Well, this has potential to lift some of those people to a position where they don’t need to access the bank, which is a fantastic outcome for everyone.”

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Bill C-22, the Canada Disability Benefit Act, was unanimously passed by the federal government last year. According to a release, the legislation entails a new income support program aimed at reducing poverty among low-income, working-age Canadians living with disabilities.

Bailey said as we get closer to budget time, the public tends to hear about budget cuts, and it worries him that the government will not fully fund the legislation or not fund it at all.

“If it’s not sort of ratified in that way by summer of 2024, then it sort of falls off the table,” he said. “There’s a fair bit of financial pressure on those folks, and (the fully funded benefit) will help alleviate some of that.”

Bailey said 800,000 to a million people who qualify for the Canada Disability Benefit would be lifted above the poverty line.

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