From the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) Press Release (Feb. 23, 2005): Today’s federal Budget improves tax fairness for Canadians with disabilities, but does nothing to improve the situation of those most in need, said Marie White, Chairperson of CCD. “The improved tax measures are a positive step in the right direction in addressing the need for investment in supports, BUT, they are of no benefit to the vast majority of Canadians with disabilities who live in poverty and have no taxable income,” said White. The Technical Advisory Committee on Tax Measures for Persons with Disabilities reporting to Ministers Goodale and McCallum recognized this and stated: “Priority should be given to expenditure programs rather than tax measures to target new funding where the need is greatest.” (Disability and Tax Fairness report December 2004) Canadians with disabilities continue to reside in institutions, live in poverty, face daily discrimination and barriers to their participation. “What will it take to get governments to address the real need? What will it take to get governments to address our priority — the investment in disability related services and supports?” asks White. Recent government statements include: * “…What kind of Canada do we want? …a Canada where people with disabilities and their families… have the support they need.” (Prime Minister Paul Martin, Response to the Speech From the Throne, February 2004) * “The federal government [should] meet with provincial/territorial governments and groups representing the disabled with a view to concluding a federal/provincial/territorial national disability strategy…” (from Moving Forward: Report of the Standing Committee of Finance December 2004) * “Ministers… agreed to jointly develop a strategy for investments in disability programs, with both short and long-term options. Ministers committed to advancing the issues that are important to Canadians with disabilities, including the three building blocks of In Unison — disability supports, income and employment.“ (from News Release of F/P/T Meeting of Ministers of Social Services November 2, 2004) “The Council of Canadians with Disabilities sees tax measures as one very small step. What is needed is a national strategy and investment in programs and supports that will enable people to get an education, get jobs and participate in community life,” said Laurie Beachell, CCD National Coordinator . “Canadians with disabilities were told by the Liberals in the mid-90’s that we would have to wait for the government to get its house in order before we would see any new investments,” says Marie White. “We have been patient, we have been collaborative, we have identified the need, we have identified the priority — disability-related supports. What does government expect our community to do now?” For more information, please contact Marie White, National Chairperson, at (709) 739-8233, or Laurie Beachell, National Coordinator, at (204) 947-0303.