|CHATHAM-KENT – NDP Leader Andrea Horwath will help seniors live at home for years longer by letting them defer property taxes, putting about $375 back in their pockets every month — and investing $1 billion to make sure home care is there to support them.
“Home is the happiest, healthiest place for our parents and grandparents. We can help them avoid hospitals and long-term care. We can give our loved ones a better quality of life as they age — in their own neighbourhood, living on their own terms,” said Horwath.
“Together, let’s make sure seniors have the money and the help they need to live at home for years longer. We’ll fix home care so support is there when people need it. And we’ll help seniors on a fixed income hold onto more of their money. With our plan, hundreds of dollars will stay in their pocket every month to help with groceries, gas and living a more full life.”
The NDP will make it safe and affordable for seniors to live at home longer by:
- Making a record $1 billion investment into home care on top of what Ontario already spends, starting with a direct investment of $235 million more in the first year. A new, reliable, expanded basket of services will include things like transportation to appointments and meal preparation.
- Implementing a seniors property tax deferral program. Seniors will be able to choose to have the province pay their property tax for them. The homeowner reimburses the province only when they sell their home. For a senior who pays $4,500 in property tax, that will leave another $375 every month for things like their groceries, gas, transit pass and leisure.
- Introducing a Seniors Home Safety Grant to help seniors cover the cost of handrails, stair lifts, and other modifications to make their home safe.
- Introducing a Caregiver Benefit program to give caregivers $400 a month to help with expenses they take on when providing regular care for a loved one, like covering their mileage and buying personal care items.
The Ontario Community Support Association reports that 18,000 people living in long-term care in 2019 could have been at home with better home care, and the Ontario Hospital Association reported 750,000 patient days where someone was trapped in a hospital bed while waiting for home or long-term care. Families frequently report that a loved ones ended up in a facility because home care failed them — with last-minute cancellations, no-shows, and rushed PSWs that don’t have enough time to deliver what’s needed.
Previous Liberal and Conservative governments broke home care by privatizing it — leaving an unaccountable patchwork that can let people down, while the company still gets paid. Doug Ford is privatizing Ontario’s home care system further, even handing over the development of care plans to for-profit corporations who also provide the care — a scheme that can easily be gamed by Ford’s buddies, while seniors pay the price.