Ministry of Finance (April 25, 2017) – Ontario is making it easier for people who care for loved ones, with more respite services that allow people to take a break from their unpaid duties, increased education and training opportunities for caregivers, and a new, streamlined Ontario Caregiver Tax Credit.
Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance, and Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, announced the new supports for family caregivers while visiting SPRINT Senior Care in Toronto.
Family caregivers are people who provide unpaid care for a family member or friend at home, including seniors, people living with dementia or those with other complex health needs. Being a family caregiver often means balancing this responsibility with others, such as caring for young children and work, which can cause physical, emotional and financial stress.
New supports being provided by the province include:
- Funding for approximately 1.2 million hours of respite services for caregivers, such as personal support or nursing, so that they can schedule breaks for rest, family commitments or other priorities.
- More education and training programs for unpaid caregivers to help them learn how to provide care to their loved ones at home in ways that work for them, including online, in group settings and in a variety of languages.
- A new Ontario Caregiver Tax Credit, which would replace the current caregiver and infirm dependent tax credits. This proposed new, non-refundable provincial tax credit would streamline and extend support for people caring for infirm relatives, starting in the 2017 tax year.
- Launching a new organization that will coordinate supports and resources for caregivers across the province, such as training, local resources and peer support.
Making it easier for those who care for loved ones is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.
- Ontario will invest an additional $20 million in 2017 for respite care for caregivers of people receiving care at home, bringing its three-year commitment to $120 million.
- Increasing caregiver support services, better integrating home care and providing more education and training programs were recommended in Bringing Care Home, a report of the Expert Group on Home and Community Care.
- Since 2013, the government has increased its investment in home and community care by about $250 million a year.
- With a growing aging population, the burden is rising on people providing care for Ontarians with a physical or cognitive condition, injury or chronic life-limiting illness. For example, nearly half of the estimated 214,000 Ontarians living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias have caregivers who report feeling distressed.