UVic professor resigns from federal disability advisory group in protest

UVic professor resigns from federal disability advisory group in protest
University professor Michael Prince

A University of Victoria professor has resigned from a federal disability advisory group saying funds allocated for disabled Canadians are inadequate.

UVic professor Michael Prince resigned from the government’s Disability Advisory Group in protest after being appointed to it in 2020.

In 2023, the federal government passed the Canada Disability Benefit Act to help financially support Canadians living with a disability.

He hoped that the government’s proposed federal budget would provide adequate funding for Canadians living with a disability.

“To a lot of people’s shock and surprise, $2400 a year, $200 a month, or $6 a day is what it works out to. This in no way, resembles to the guaranteed-income supplement which is a really powerful anti-poverty tool that the government uses,” said Prince.

After seeing the proposed budget, he decided to resign from the group in disappointment.

According to the Prince, about 1.2 million Canadians are living with a disability.

The federal government allocated $6.1 billion over six years, but only 600,000 Canadians will get that benefit.

“This program was seen as a recognized necessity to help add an additional several hundred dollars, not $200 a month, to get people up to a dignified life,” he said.

“That’s why I felt I had to speak out about it, because this was an opportunity to really tackle poverty in a meaningful way for hundreds of thousands, if not a million more Canadians with disabilities.”

Across the country, advocates say this new benefit will still keep many Canadians below the poverty line.

Neil Heterington, CEO of Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto says many communities are being left behind.

“The average person on disability gets about $1,300 a month. The poverty line is $2,300. So that means at that point they’re only — and I’d say this with a bit of facetiousness — they are only $800 below the poverty line, for individuals who have a higher cost of living,” he said in an interview with CBC.

Disability Without Poverty national director Rabia Khedr said she’s “heartbroken” over the proposed benefit.

“It’s maybe going to give them a little more money to buy food, put toward their rent. But they’re still going to be living in significant levels of poverty,” she said.

With files from CBC’s Darren Major.

Oli HerreraOli Herrera

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!