#Elxn44: Where do the major parties stand on seniors care?

For over a year, BC Care Providers Association has engaged with representatives of the federal government and of the Opposition to make the case for a fulsome national response to the crisis in our aged care sector. This has included meetings with Cabinet ministers, directors of policy plus other key staff across the Government of Canada.

Other sector representatives have also attended some of these discussions, including the Canadian Association of Long-Term Care (CALTC), AdvantAge Ontario, and The Rekai Centres and we thank them for their support and participation in this advocacy.

Before the pandemic was declared in March 2020, BCCPA had taken part in several meetings on Parliament Hill as part of the CALTC delegation to make the case to MPs on the need for more resources for Canada’s care homes. Evidence of those efforts were recently on display when the Parliamentary Budget Office released its estimate on the cost to fully fund long-term care at 4 hours of care per resident day.

In addition, we have worked with CALTC in the development of their election platform—which is available for download here.

Decision 2021

While the results of this advocacy will continue to unfold in the months ahead, an election called on Sunday has now put the future direction of our sector in the hands of voters. It is therefore important for British Columbians who care about the welfare of our seniors to see the respective platforms of the major parties who may have a role in forming government in our country.

In the table below, we capture the promises made by the Liberal, Conservative, NDP and Green parties. Note: the information will be updated as it becomes available during the election campaign period. Election Day is on Monday, September 20, 2021.

 
Platform Document Seniors Care Backgrounder Full Platform Health Platform GreenParty.ca
Health Human Resources  A re-elected Liberal government will continue to work with the provinces and territories to ensure personal support workers receive a wage of at least $25 per hour.

Will build on the $38.5 million already invested to train 4,000 new personal support worker interns, by investing an additional $500 million to train up to 50,000 personal support workers. This funding will be delivered in collaboration with the provinces and territories and will build on the work they have done in the past year to train more personal support workers.

A re-elected Liberal government will also:

– Reform economic immigration programs to expand pathways to Permanent Residence for temporary foreign workers and former international students through the Express Entry points system.

– Build on the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot and work with employers and communities across Canada to welcome 2,000 skilled refugees to fill labour shortages in in-demand sectors such as health care.

Canada’s Conservatives will help meet the need for Personal Support Workers by:

– Providing priority in immigration programs to those who can work in Long-Term Care or homecare.

– Promoting these careers through immigration and refugee settlement programs.

The NDP will work with the provinces to develop and support workforce strategies and violence prevention to recruit and protect front-line staff, and ensure a safe working environment for personal support and health care workers.

Promises better wages, stable jobs and health and safety protections. Paying and protecting long term workers will be an essential part of the NDP’s approach to national standards.

The Greens have committed to improving the quality of life of workers in LTC by:-Increasing and stabilizing staffing in LTC homes and improve training, fair pay for workers, benefits, and paid sick leave.

-Investing in training and education to support ongoing professional development and specialization for LTC workers.

-Prioritizing senior care and long-term care skills for immigration status.

Infrastructure  A re-elected Liberal government will dedicate $3 billion in funding for the provinces and territories to address the quality and capacity of long-term care homes. Canada’s Conservatives will devote $3 billion of infrastructure funding over the next three years to renovate Long-Term Care Homes in all provinces and territories across Canada to improve the care that residents receive. The Greens have committed to providing transformative investment in infrastructure funding.
Aging in Place  A re-elected Liberal government will double the Home Accessibility Tax Credit from $10,000 to $20,000, improving safety and accessibility, and helping seniors stay in their homes longer.

A re-elected Liberal government will double the Home Accessibility Tax Credit from $10,000 to $20,000, improving safety and accessibility, and helping seniors stay in their homes longer.

Canada’s Conservatives will help Seniors Stay in their Own Homes by:

– Amending the Home Accessibility Tax Credit by increasing the limit from $10,000 per dwelling to $10,000 per person.

– Allowing seniors or their caregivers, including their children, to claim the Medical Expense Tax Credit for home care instead of only allowing them to claim attendant care if they live in a group home.

The NDP will determine a core basket of home care services that will be available and covered by provincial insurance plans. The Greens will invest in home and community care by:

-Providing a dedicated Seniors’ Care Transfer to provinces and territories for specific improvements to home, community and LTC separate from the federal health transfers.

-Shifting LTC policy towards aging in place by having the Seniors’ Care Transfer include transformative investment in home and community care (such as naturally occurring retirement communities, co-housing models, and enhanced home support programs).

-Increasing the proportion of LTC investment in community and home-based care from 13% to 35% in order to match the OECD average.

– The Greens would change the Home Renovation Tax Credit from $10,000 per household to $10,000 per person for more people to age in place.

Family Caregiver Support  A re-elected Liberal government has promised to expand the Canada Caregiver Credit into a refundable, tax-free benefit and make the Canada Caregiver Credit refundable, allowing caregivers to receive up to $1,250 per year. Canada’s Conservatives will introduce the Canada Seniors Care Benefit, paying $200 per month per household to any Canadian who is living with and taking care of a parent over the age of 70. The NDP promises to make the Canada Caregiver Tax Credit refundable The Greens would make the Caregiver Tax Credit a refundable tax credit so that family caregivers have more flexibility (from its current earned tax credit status).
Standards in Long-Term Care  The Liberal government introduced the $1 billion Safe Long-term Care Fund in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement to support the development of national long-term care standards and to provide immediate funding for infection prevention and control measures.

A re-elected Liberal government will work with provinces and territories to introduce the Safe Long-term Care Act to ensure that standards of care are upheld across the country.

(See news about recent federal LTC funding announcement here)

Canada’s Conservatives will invite the provinces to work with them to develop a set of best practices for Long-Term Care homes. Like the National Building Code, this will provide guidance for provinces without intruding on the province and territories jurisdictions. Will work with all those provincial governments who want to commit to this important project and encourage all provinces to incorporate the results into provincial law. The NDP will work collaboratively with patients, caregivers, and provincial and territorial governments to develop national care standards for home care and long-term care, regulated by the same principles as the Canada Health Act. By doing so, a New Democrat government would legally protect access to home care and long-term care services, and ensure a consistent quality of care across the country. The Greens have said that they will improve the quality of care in Long-Term Care homes by creating enforceable National Standards for LTC, including a national standard of four hours of regulated care per day for each LTC resident. The would enforce National Standards of Care through accountability and penalties, including criminal prosecution.

The Greens would also require Emergency and Pandemic Preparedness for LTC, including providing proper and adequate supplies of personal protective equipment and testing for COVID-19 for staff, family caregivers, and residents.

Funding Model  Will encourage partnerships with private non-profits that have historically provided a significant amount of Long-Term Care. The NDP has vowed to end private, for-profit long-term care and bring long-term care homes under the public umbrella. The Greens have committed to bring Long-Term Care under the Canada Health Act.

Have also stated that they will end for-profit LTC facilities and reorient LTC towards community-based models.

 

*Feature photo: Justin Trudeau (Liberal), Erin O’Toole (Conservative), Annamie Paul (Green), Jagmeet Singh (NDP)