THUNDER BAY – Canadian families want the option of caring for a loved one who has fallen ill – whether it’s an aging parent or grandparent, a young child, or a spouse – at home. Today, 2.7 million Canadians provide care for seniors, and by 2017, Canada’s 150th birthday, it is estimated that the number of seniors with chronic conditions requiring home care services will increase by one-third.
Here in the Northwest, more than 1 in 5 people (21.8%) provide unpaid care or assistance to seniors, and that number is growing.
Family caregivers are responsible for 80% of Canada’s homecare services, providing over $9 billion in unpaid care each year. Despite their value to our economy, our health, our families and our communities, the important work done by family caregivers has gone largely unrecognized.
These are difficult economic times, so that means governments – and Canadians – must choose. Stephen Harper and the Conservatives choose tax breaks for corporations. The Liberal Party has made a choice to stand with Canadian families struggling with the costs of family care.
Liberals believe that the issues facing family caregivers need to be recognized. To help families care for their parents, grandparents or sick loved ones of any age, a future Liberal government will invest $1 billion annually in a new Family Care Plan to help reduce the economic pressure on our families. We’ll pay for this Family Care Plan by making better choices, including cancelling the Harper Conservatives’ irresponsible, $6 billion corporate tax break. Liberals will use part of these savings to invest in the Family Care Plan.
The Liberal Family Care Plan will introduce a new six-month Family Care Employment Insurance Benefit, similar to the EI parental leave benefit, so that more
Canadians can care for gravely ill family members at home and without having to quit their jobs. Under this new program, families can claim the six months in blocks over a yearlong period, and share it with other family members.
A Liberal government will also offer a new Family Care Tax Benefit. This will be modeled on the Child Tax Benefit and will help low- and middle-income family caregivers defray the cost of providing essential care to a family member at home. This benefit will help by providing hundreds of thousands of families with a tax-free payment worth up to $1,350 per year.
Making family care easier here in Northwestern Ontario and throughout Canada will help to contain health care costs in the long run. A Liberal government will ensure that home care is part of the discussion when the 2004 Health Accord expires in 2014. Canadians deserve access to the same standard of home care services regardless of where they live. These issues matter for Canada and for Thunder Bay – Superior North.
Liberal Candidate, Thunder Bay Superior North
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