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Canadian Nurses Association responds to Liberal plan for caregivers

August 20, 2015, Ottawa — The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) is encouraged to see health being included in the federal election discourse, and we call upon all parties to publish their platforms on health issues. Today’s Liberal party pledge to create an employment insurance compassionate care benefit could potentially help the millions of Canadians now caring for loved ones who are ill. CNA will be looking for further details about the plan. In particular, what the criteria will be for “seriously ill” and whether any elements will be aimed specifically at our country’s growing seniors population.

CNA recently launched its own federal election campaign call — Health Is Where the Home Is — to draw attention to the significant gaps in seniors home health care. In addition to common standards for home health care and improved health promotion, CNA is recommending more support for family caregivers. Canadians who provide care for aging family members are indispensable to the well-being of our seniors and to our overburdened health-care system. These caregivers’ annual contributions in unpaid labour are estimated to be worth more than $5 billion.

As one measure the parties could introduce to better support caregivers, CNA would like to see the existing Family Caregiver Tax Credit made refundable so more Canadians could actually receive money in return for their caregiving commitments. In its current form, the tax credit is not paid to recipients as a direct cash benefit. It merely reduces the income tax a person pays — meaning what they receive is limited to what they owe. As a result, individuals with modest incomes derive little or no benefit. Statistics Canada reports that many caregivers face out-of-pocket expenses, for things like specialized medical aids, transportation, hiring professional care and even lost wages from time off work. A refundable tax credit would help ensure that all eligible households receive something in return for such expenditures of time and money.

To learn more about CNA’s election campaign call, including its contact the candidates and share your story features, visit cna-aiic.ca/election2015.

CNA is the national professional voice representing 135,000 registered nurses in Canada. CNA advances the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and strengthen Canada’s publicly funded, not-for-profit health system.


For more information, please contact:

Kate Headley, Manager of Communications
Canadian Nurses Association
Telephone: 613-237-2159, ext. 561
Cell: 613-697-7507
E-mail: kheadley@cna-aiic.ca