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Friday, July 27, 2012

Canadian Home Care Priorities for Seniors: What Can We Learn From Australia? Your questions answered

In May, our international webinar, Canadian Home Care Priorities for Seniors: What Can We Learn From Australia?, sparked many more questions than we were able to answer in one hour, so we asked our panelists to address your questions directly.

Here, one of our panelists, Nadine Henningsen, Executive Director of the Canadian Home Care Association, answers your question about provincial versus federal responsibility. If you want to see all the answers from all three panelists, or the presentations from the webinar, click here.

Q: There used to be a federal Minister of State responsible for caregiving.  Would you say that caregiving is now considered a 'provincial' issue (aside from CPP changes and the Aboriginal population)?

A: Both the federal and provincial governments in collaboration with NGOs and other stakeholders across Canada are actively working on initiatives to support caregivers.  

These actions may be a part of a distinct strategy to support all caregivers (as seen in Manitoba’s Caregiver Act) or targeted to caregivers providing support for the frail elderly and included in policy to support continuing care and healthy aging.   Specifically, the jurisdictions are moving forward on key elements of the Canadian Caregiver Strategy (proposed by the Canadian Caregiver Coalition), such as:
  1. Safeguard the health and wellbeing of family caregivers through identification of caregiver needs and provision of flexible respite options. Note: This is a provincial issue and activity.
  2. Minimize excessive financial burden placed on family caregivers by providing direct payment, where caregivers receive allowances, compensation or reimbursement for expenses and / or tax credits, pension credits, and dropouts from pension. Note: This is a federal activity with the Compassionate Care Benefit and Caregiver Tax Credit.  Provinces have advanced this with unique programs.
  3. Enable access to user-friendly information, education, resources and counseling. Note: This is a provincial focus, with Federal Government research grants to support access to information (e.g., Caregiver Policy Lens & Caregiver Toolkit).
  4. Create flexible workplace environments that respect caregiving obligations including labour policy, workplace policies, labour standards and Employment Insurance policies such as the Compassionate Care Benefit. Note: There’s limited activity in this area. 
  5. Invest in research on family caregiving as a foundation for evidence-informed decision making. 
  6. Note: Federal government – through HRSDC – 2009 Call for Proposals (listing of approved projects here. Provincial activity varies by jurisdiction. 

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