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'Historic': Port Moody–Coquitlam MP's motion passes unanimously to re-table Canada Disability Benefit

There were no objections to Bonita Zarrillo's motion — Bill C-35 — to bring back a legislation that died when the Liberals called a 2021 snap election.

Bonita Zarrillo called a motion's unanimous passing in the House of Commons today (May 10) a "truly historic moment."

There were no objections by any parliamentary members to a bill that could reintroduce the Canada Disability Benefit, set to bring some relief to those who live with a disability and have fallen on hard times.

This includes the uncertainty stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, the rising cost of food and housing and other essential needs.

Bill C-35 was brought up in the house by the Port Moody–Coquitlam MP — also the NDP's lead critic for disability inclusion — who asked the motion be put in place "without delay."

"People with disabilities make up 41 per cent of Canadians living in poverty. This is unacceptable," Zarrillo says in a statement issued to the Tri-City News this afternoon.

Her motion comes months after the legislation died when the snap 2021 federal election called and aims to put pressure on the Liberal government.

Bill C-35's first reading was in June 2021, and its purpose was to reduce poverty and support the financial security of working–age persons with disabilities.

"People living with disabilities who are struggling to get by don’t need empty promises — they need support," adds Zarrillo.

"Implementing a Canada Disability Benefit will give immediate help to those who are struggling to cover their growing monthly costs by providing more financial support."

As the benefit is non-binding, there's no exact financial figure as of this publication a person with disabilities can qualify for.

In the 2021 budget, however, a three-year, $11.9-million investment was unveiled to bring about consultations on how to improve the eligibility process for existing federal programs and benefits.

According to the platform, Canadians with a disability on low incomes aged 18 to 64 would receive a "direct monthly payment" when the benefit is implemented.

"Direct income supports work, and they must be implemented immediately to give Canadians living with disabilities the financial support and dignity they deserve," explains Zarrillo, who's long advocated financial equality for local residents on the disability spectrum.

"Through this motion in Parliament, the NDP is making sure that Canadians living with disabilities, who are struggling from the pandemic and the affordability crisis, are not left behind."

One in five Canadians over 15 years old, as of 2017, are classified as living with some form of disability, according to the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada (LDAC).