Manitoba Court of Appeal Rules that Manitobans with disabilities in receipt of EIA cannot be forced to apply early for their CPP
A win for Manitobans with disabilities – On 5 May 2020, the Court of Appeal held that the appellant, Mr Stadler (a 65 year old man with disabilities in receipt of income assistance), had been discriminated against contrary to section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms when he was forced to apply early (at age 60) for his Canada Pension Plan (CPP).
The Public Interest Law Centre (Byron Williams and Joëlle Pastora Sala) along with probono counsel (Vince Calderhead) from Pink Larkin LLP represented the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg (SPCW). On behalf of the SPCW, PILC argued that persons with disabilities are disproportionately affected by the impugned provision because they are at greater risk of living in poverty and, as a result, are dramatically over-represented among those in receipt of income assistance. Applying early for CPP results in reducing their CPP benefits and leaves persons with disabilities in receipt of income assistance more at risk of remaining in poverty with the possibility of lifetime dependency on income assistance. The Manitoba Court of Appeal agreed with the PILC submissions and concluded that the Regulation widens the gap between persons with disabilities who receive income assistance and the rest of society by perpetuating their dependence on income assistance. In conclusion, the Court held that the Regulation perpetuates and exacerbates the burdens of an already disadvantaged group and violates section 15 of the Charter. The Court ordered that persons with disabilities in receipt of income assistance ought not be required to apply for their CPP benefits before they turn 65 years old.
The full decision can be found here: Stadler v Director, St Boniface/St Vital, 2020 MBCA 46 (CanLII)
CBC coverage about the decision can be found here: CBC News Article
The PILC factum is available here: Factum of the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg