Analysis of the 2024 Federal Budget: Potential Impacts on Disabled Post-Secondary Students

News Release: April 22nd, 2024 (Ottawa, Ontario) National Educational Association of Disabled Students

Following the tabling of Budget 2024: Fairness for Every Generation by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland on April 16th, the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) has been conducting a thorough review to identify measures, investments, and initiatives proposed by the Government of Canada that may impact disabled and neurodivergent post-secondary students across the country. 

Like countless other disabled persons organizations, we are extremely disappointed by the Canadian Disability Benefit proposing a mere $200/month for those with valid Disability Tax Credit certificates despite the clear legislated poverty crisis seen across the country. We are, however, encouraged by the many proposed investments and amendments designed to make post-secondary education more accessible, housing more affordable, and youth employment opportunities more widely available.

In the following days, we will publish a full analysis of Budget 2024 in relation to our mandate of promoting full access to accessible and inclusive post-secondary education and employment, as well as our core objectives of improving disabled and neurodivergent students' experience in-class and on-campus, reducing their student debt, and increasing their employment opportunities. 

In the meantime, we have identified the following investments as having potential to benefit disabled and neurodivergent post-secondary students across Canada, and the following concerns as areas we will allocate our government advocacy efforts towards. 

We strongly encourage neurodivergent and disabled post-secondary students and graduates to reach out to  Carly Fox, NEADS' Communications & Partnerships Director via email at to share their opinions and concerns around Budget 2024, how proposed investments can benefit them, and any unaddressed issues they would like to see prioritized in our future government relations.  


Post-Secondary Education

• $50 million over two years to Employment and Social Development Canada (EDSC) to continue funding their Supports for Student Learning Program

• $5 million to fund a proposed amendment to the Income Tax Act making more expenses eligible for the Disability Supports Deduction, including service animals, alternative and assistive computer technology, and ergonomic equipment

• $100 million for ESDC to continue supporting their Apprenticeship Service and Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness Program

• $5.2 million proposed for the Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning in the Northwest Territories

Student Financial Assistance

• Extension of the temporary increase to Canada Student Grants and Canada Student Loans: grants will stay at $4,200 per year and loans will remain at $300 per week - with grants and loans for disabled and part-time students and students with dependents raised proportionately

• Modernized shelter allowances used by the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program when determining financial need, estimated to make 79,000 additional students eligible for federal financial assistance

• The elimination of credit screenings for mature students applying for Canada Student Grants and Loans for the first time, estimated to help 1,000 mature students annually

• $825 million over five years to increase the annual value of Master’s and Doctoral student scholarships to $27,000 and $40,000 respectively, and post-doctoral fellowships to $70,000

• Amending the Canada Education Savings Act to introduce automatic enrolment for the Canada Learning Bond for children in low-income households without RESPs

• $242.7 million over three years for First Nations students pursuing post-secondary education through the Post-Secondary Student Support Program

Youth Employment

• $207.6 million to Employment and Social Development Canada to continue delivering their Student Work Placement Program

• $150.7 million to Employment and Social Development Canada to continue delivering the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy Program (YESS)

• $200.5 million to Employment and Social Development Canada to continue delivering the Canada Summer Jobs program

• $60 million proposed over five years to Futurpreneur Canada to continue their work supporting over 17,700 youth entrepreneurs

• $200 million proposed for the continued support of the Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative


• $500 million over five years for the creation of a new Youth Mental Health Fund

• $630.2 million to support Indigenous peoples’ access to mental health services

• $4 million to the Public Health Agency of Canada to continue supporting the Mental Health of Black Canadians Fund


• $15 million proposed over five years to create a Tenant Protection Fund to increase access to legal and informational services and funding to tenants’ rights advocacy organizations

• Temporary removal of GST on the construction of student residences

• Requirement for municipalities to amend their building codes to allow high-density housing within 800 metres of post-secondary institutions to benefit from the federal government’s upcoming permanent public transit fund

Income Support

• $6.1 billion over 6 years to fund the Canada Disability Benefit

• $213.5 million over five years to implement income supports for eligible persons with disabilities living on reserves and First Nations individuals’ with disabilities in the Yukon



Under the 28% decrease to international students study visas, we are greatly concerned that disabled and neurodivergent international students will be disproportionately harmed, and potentially discriminated against, as competition becomes more intense for more limited study visas.

While we are highly encouraged by Budget 2024’s proposal to increase and expand financial aid to post-secondary students with disabilities, we are aware that these measures currently do not stand to benefit disabled and neurodivergent students without medical documentation.


There is a clear need for more flexible working hours, expanded funding for workplace accommodations, and a streamlined accommodations process in relation to youth employment opportunities. 


As both care givers and recipients, disabled people must be centred in discussions around the proposed Sectoral Table on the Care Economy and the development of a National Caregiving Strategy.

Like many other disability rights organizations, we are disappointed that the Canadian Dental Care Plan will continue to only apply to disabled people with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate. As noted in Budget 2024 itself, the Disability Tax Credit has a medical-based, burdensome, and complicated administrative process that clearly presents a barrier to disabled people who greatly stand to benefit from both the Credit and dental care. 

With 76% of persons with disabilities taking prescription medication at least on a weekly basis and 10% of these individuals going without medication due to cost (Statistics Canada, 2017), the inclusion and prioritization of disabled people will be essential to realizing an equitable and effective national pharmacare program.


We are greatly disappointed that disability-specific considerations were not meaningfully included in relation to housing in Budget 2024, despite disabled persons’ overrepresentation in the rental market and disproportionate experiences with inadequate housing. 

Income Support

In addition to the continued and apparently acceptable levels of legislative poverty set forth in the proposed Canada Disability Benefit, the inaccessibility, administrative burden, and unnecessary strain of the Disability Tax Credit on our struggling health care system is demonstrated by the additional $243 million proposed to cover the cost of medical forms required for application alone – the government must not enact, maintain, or perpetuate barriers.

Carly Fox (she/her/elle), NEADS Communications and Partnerships Director | Directrice des communications et des partenariats de NEADS, National Educatonal Association of Disabled Students (NEADS), Rm. 514 Unicentre, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6

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