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MS Canada celebrates the passage of the monumental Canada Disability Benefit Act

TORONTO, June 22, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- MS Canada applauds the passage of the Canada Disability Benefit Act framework legislation to create a federal income benefit for Canadians who live with a disability.

The Canada Disability Benefit Act, Bill C-22, passed through the House of Commons and the Senate of Canada and today received Royal Assent, officially passing the bill into law. The bill will now begin its regulatory phase to develop a system to make direct payments to Canadians who live with a disability.

"We are thrilled with Bill C-22's passage and the support from Members of Parliament and Senators about the need to provide income support for Canadians with disabilities, including those with episodic disabilities, like MS," said Benjamin Davis, Senior Vice-President, Mission at MS Canada. "The passage of this bill shows the strength of advocacy work and will be life-changing for many members of our community."

Income security is a top priority for the MS community and MS Canada has advocated to bring this benefit to fruition. In 2022, an MS Canada digital petition in support of the Canada Disability Benefit received close to 10,000 signatures within 24 hours of launch, signaling widespread support for the benefit. In the fall of 2022, MS Canada launched a letter-writing email campaign where Canadians could write directly to their Member of Parliament to underline the importance of this benefit; more than 6,000 emails to all 338 MPs were sent over the course of the campaign.

A representative from MS Canada also testified during a Parliamentary committee study on the bill, securing a key change to include episodic disability under the definition of disability in the criteria that will be used to determine eligibility for the Canada Disability Benefit. MS Canada representatives also remained engaged during the Senate process, submitting to the Senate committee studying the bill and meeting with key Senators to advocate for the bill's quick passage. Income security was also the focus of more than 60 meetings with Members of Parliament and Senators in early May during MS Canada's Day on the Hill activities, part of MS Awareness Month.

Though the bill has passed its legislative phase, it is expected to take at least a year before benefits are available to Canadians living with a disability. The government will now begin the regulatory phase, wherein the details of the benefit, including the payment amount, will be determined.

If you would like to be kept updated during the Canada Disability Benefit's regulatory phase, please click here to sign up for our advocacy emails.

About MS Canada
MS Canada fosters meaningful connections both within the MS community, and between the MS community and research, programs, resources, and services. As of 2023, MS Canada amalgamates two previously known entities, the MS Society of Canada and the MS Scientific Research Foundation, continuing its work toward the same vision of a world free of multiple sclerosis. The MS community is at the centre of MS Canada. For 75 years we have been relentless in our fight, continuously funding research to expand the current MS knowledge base. We also advocate for people living with MS, asking the government to remove barriers and improve policies that impact their everyday lives. For more information visit mscanada.ca

About multiple sclerosis (MS)
Canada has one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis (MS) in the world. On average, 12 Canadians are diagnosed every day. MS is a chronic autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord). Most people are diagnosed with MS between the ages of 20 and 49. It is considered an episodic disability meaning that the severity and duration of episodes of illness and disability can vary, often followed by periods of wellness. It can also be progressive.

Media Contact:
Laila Namur
Manager, Corporate Communications
[email protected]

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