Promises Made and Promises Broken

August 16, 2021

The current Liberal government has been a major disappointment as far as assurances that people living with mental illnesses are not discriminated against when trying to access the income security benefits to which they are entitled. 

The following is a letter from an individual who continues to fight for fairness, when unjustly denied the Disability Tax Credit despite hospital stays for ECT treatments for severe psychosis and volaltile mood swings. The list of marked restrictions in mental functions documented by his psychiatrist is long and comprehensive. Nevertheless, I have been advised that Subsection 220 (1) of the Income Tax Act enables the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, to authorize CRA staff to question the medical evidence provided by the patient's doctor. 

Dear Member of Parliament

Congratulations on the announcement by Mr. Trudeau for a federal election.

I have been a loyal Liberal voter for most of my life. This time however I wonder how I can continue supporting a party that doesn’t appear to care about systemic inequities targeting vulnerable constituents. I wrote you (cc. Disability Advisory Committee) a few months ago outlining legitimate concerns with the DTC program. I revealed my personal anguish resulting from years of frustration dealing with the application process.

I’m still awaiting the courtesy of a reply, from you, your office, or the Disability Advisory Committee. From my own experience, the DTC application process in its current form is specifically and blatantly discriminatory to Canadians with mental illness

For many people with mental disabilities, it is challenging enough to compose a heartfelt letter asking for help, much less cope on their own with the incomprehensible T 2201 application form and convoluted process. It is my hope that the next government will be comprised of representatives and committees that genuinely listen and dutifully respond to the concerns of all constituents, including those with disabilities from mental illness.

Although the CRA continues to assure the Canadian disability community of improvements to the administration of the DTC, we have yet to see any of these promises kept for people living with severe mental impairments. Where is the political will to fix discriminatory practices that our most vulnerable citizens, who have few advocates, continue to face? Where is the basic sense of humanity to respond to a constituent's appeal?