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Canada Votes 2015: Healthcare..Who’s Got your Back?

In the 2015 Canadian election, if wearing the niqab is a priority for you, you’re in luck, two major parties support it to win your vote! If Health care is your priority…well, you’re out of luck! Leaders who have the stomach to dance around the subject are making iron clad promises to be delivered in their second term!

When I was a kid, I used to look to forward to my mother taking me to the circus. I loved the clowns, the trapeze performers not to mention the crooners. Cirque de Soleil excels at upping their game every new show!…a kid no more, the circus now comes to our cities and towns every four years in the form of the federal election…the (party leaders) performers, singers and clowns entertain us, test our emotional reaction to every number and the MC is ready to change the tune quickly if they’re losing the audience.

election final

At the circus, we pay for the tickets but we don’t have a say in the show …elections work the same way. While a poll by Ekos shows that health is the most important issue to Canadians, research shows that party leaders devoted more time in their debates to the niqab than what’s really important to Canadians who are funding the show with their own hard earned taxes. Major party leaders have been almost silent on the issue. For the current government, this is in line with their position to exit the health-care business.

Given $1 billion over 10 years, 5 of 10 items a Canadian would spend money on would include improving public healthcare, improving end-of-life care, improving access to mental health services and creating the much sought after National Health Strategy including a universal home-care program. Other choices included child care, workplace training and what about combating terrorist threats and purchasing fighter jets you ask? Least popular items they answered. The margin of error of the survey is plus or minus 3.2 percentage points 19 out of 20 times.

This should come at no surprise to anyone that healthcare concerns dominate our priorities. For the first time in history, Canadian seniors now out number children. Our healthcare system isn’t designed to meet the needs of our aging population. Pharma care and physician assisted suicide are issues that having growing number of advocates as a result of the arising need.

Election Final Voters

According to the same Ekos poll, 55% of respondents believe that public healthcare in Canada has worsened in the past 9 years. 25% think it stayed the same. 17% experienced an improved system.

Under the big tent, some of the audience is asking for their voice to be heard. The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) started its own campaign www.demandaplan.ca that calls for a National Seniors Strategy. The Registered Nurses Assoc of Ontario (RNAO) is urging its membership to help spread the message and have prepared a downloadable guide called: Why Health Matters! http://rnao.ca/sites/rnao-ca/files/Platform_2015_Aug_12.pdf urging the electorate to get informed, support the universally accessible publicly funded and not-for-profit healthcare system and improving access to personal-centred care.

Mentioned in the Ekos poll is a small item that Canadians are asking for…they’d like all of the above couple with “Across the board tax cuts”!

Enters the magician of each party…..this is the part of the circus show that I like the most…the creation of the illusion that becomes our reality!! And guess what? We have several magicians at this circus. Without further delay…Let’s see how each party’s illusion (promises) is spun and in reality, THINK, how much is it going to cost us?!

The PC is pushing for the Status quo + more of the same, the Liberals are pushing for a complete change and/ or reversal of some PC policies and the NDP are a middle of the road mix of fiscal balanced budget plus a investment in child care and seniors.

Elections Canada

The chart below is a compilation taken directly of the three parties websites. Naturally, depending on your family age demographic and healthcare needs, different platform points will resonate and drive your vote! Note that none come with an actual price tag! Regardless of who speaks to you, make sure that you get out and VOTE for your preferred Ring Master!

Liberals Conservative Party NDP Green
Health Accord: will negotiate a new Health Accord with provinces and territories, including a long-term agreement on funding. Health: will continue to support Canada’s universal public health care system and increase health care funding to the provinces and territories. Drug Plan: Will invest in lowering drug costs through a universal coverage plan. Drug Plan: will implement a National Pharmacare Plan
Home Care: will invest $3 billion, over the next four years, to deliver more and better home care services for all Canadians. This includes more access to high quality in-home caregivers, financial supports for family care, and, when necessary, palliative care. Health: will fund further research into how palliative care is best provided to Canadians. This research, carried out in conjunction with the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association, will focus on veterans, through the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research at Queen’s University, and First Nations, through the Improving End-of-Life Care in First Nations Communities project at Lakehead University. Aging, Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Implement national strategies on aging, and on Alzheimer’s and dementia. Seniors: Implement a National Seniors Strategy including Guaranteed liveable income, PharmaCare, National Dementia Strategy, approach to Aging in Place, Pension protection, public transport that supports independent living, address the supreme court decision on physician assisted death.
Health: will make the Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefit more flexible and easier to access, so that it provides help for more than just end-of-life care. Health: will renew the mandate and funding of the Canadian Partnership against Cancer again in 2017 Homecare: Will support people as they age by expanding home care to 41,000 more seniors and providing funding for 5,000 more nursing home beds. Seniors: Will reverse recent decision to reduce home delivery
Health: will also develop a pan-Canadian collaboration on health innovation, and will improve access to necessary prescription medications. We will join with provincial and territorial governments to buy drugs in bulk, reducing the cost Canadian governments pay for these drugs, and making them more affordable for Canadians. Retirement: Enacted & expanded Tax-Free Savings Account doubling it to $10,000 per year. Health: Fund 7,000 more doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners and other health professionals in community clinics. Dental Plan (youth): will expand our public health care coverage to include dental coverage for low-income Canadians under the age of eighteen.
Mental Health: will make high-quality mental health services more available to Canadians who need them, including our veterans and first responders. Seniors: Giving seniors significantly greater flexibility in managing their retirement income by reducing the minimum withdrawal requirements for Registered Retirement Income Funds. Mental Health: Create a youth mental health innovation fund to reduce wait times and improve access to care. Health: will work with the provinces to develop preventative health care guidelines that incentivize active lifestyles and healthy diets.
Disability Act: To eliminate systemic barriers and deliver equality of opportunity to all Canadians living with disabilities, will consult with provinces, territories, and other stakeholders to introduce a National Disabilities Act. Retirement: Enacted Pension Income Splitting for seniors to benefit more than 2.2 million Canadian seniors each year, with average federal tax relief of $900 annually. Health: Triple the paid leave available for Canadians who are too ill to work. Health: Expand health care to cover prescription medication for all Canadians and public dental coverage for low-income youth (under 18 years of age), and increase the emphasis on preventative health care.
Reirement: will introduce a more flexible and inclusive benefits available through Employment Insurance benefit available to any Canadian who provides care to a seriously ill family member. This enhanced compassionate care benefit represents an investment of $190 million per year in supporting Canada’s compassionate caregivers. Seniors: Increased the Age Credit amount by $2,000, to provide up to $1,055 in annual tax relief for seniors. Family Caregivers: Supporting caregivers by expanding the compassionate care benefit so people can take up to six months paid leave to care for seriously ill loved ones. Dental Plan (youth): will expand our public health care coverage to include dental coverage for low-income Canadians under the age of eighteen.
Retirement: will restore the eligibility age for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement to 65, putting an average of $13,000 into the pockets of the lowest income Canadians each year, as they become seniors. Seniors: A new, permanent Home Accessibility Tax Credit for seniors that provides up to $1,500 in tax relief each year. Retirement: Secure a better retirement for all Canadians by expanding the CPP/QPP. Healthy Communities: will adopt stricter regulations to prohibit cancer-causing chemicals in our food and consumer products.
Seniors: will help to lift hundreds of thousands of seniors out of poverty by increasing the Guaranteed Income Supplement for single low-income seniors by ten percent. This will give one million of our most vulnerable seniors – who are often women – almost $1,000 more each year. Seniors+ Retirement: will establish an “equivalent-to spouse” Pension Income Credit for single and widowed seniors. This $2,000 Single Seniors Tax Credit will extend tax relief to nearly 1.6 million single and widowed seniors. Retirement/ Seniors: Increasing the Guaranteed Income Supplement to help lift 200,000 seniors out of poverty, and returning the retirement age from 67 to 65.  
Seniors: Because many seniors live on fixed incomes, we will introduce a new Seniors Price Index to make sure that Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement benefits keep up with seniors’ actual rising costs. Seniors: will enact a new permanent Home Renovation Tax Credit, available each year for substantial home renovation expenses up to $2,500, beginning in January 2017, and $5,000, beginning in January 2019.
Family Caregivers: will make the Compassionate Care Benefit more flexible and easier to access, so that those who are caring for seriously ill family members – not just family members who are at risk of death – can access six months of benefits. Canadian Disability Savings Grant: will increase the maximum annual grant for low- and middle-income families from $3,500 to $4,000. This means that these families will now receive a matching grant of $4 for every $1 contributed, on the first $500 they contribute each year.
Family Caregivers: Canadian families looking for caregivers to help family members with physical or mental disabilities must pay a $1,000 Labour Market Impact Assessment fee. We will eliminate that fee. Veterans: will allow veterans receiving the extended Earnings Loss Benefit to earn up to $10,000 in employment income annually without affecting their benefit.
Veterans: will re-establish lifelong pensions as an option for our injured veterans, and increase the value of the disability award. Veterans: will issue a new Canadian Veteran Card to all Canadian Armed Forces members who complete basic training. This will reduce red tape for those seeking veterans services and make it easier to receive veteran benefits. The Canadian Veteran Card will also serve as official government identification.
Veterans: We will invest a further $40 million each year to provide injured veterans with 90 percent of their pre-release salary, and will index this benefit so that it keeps pace with inflation.

Sources:

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President of iCare Home Health Services, a community based, boutique home health care company dedicated to serving the needs of our customers to maintain their quality of life and dignity while they recover from illness or age at the comfort of their own home.

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