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Election 2021 - A look at promises made to older Canadians and their Caregivers

So where does each party stand on senior living matters like aging-in-place, affordable housing and income protection programs? Or addressing long-term care and home care deficiencies? If you haven’t had time to read all the platforms, here’s a Snapshot of 2021 federal election platforms by the major parties, with a focus on their commitments to older Canadians and their caregivers.

While you may have heard in the media about some of the bigger Federal Election 2021 commitments, there are other lesser known promises, ranging from private pension protections, the family reunification changes, home renovation tax credits, caregiver payments, amongst a few, all designed with older Canadian voters and their caregivers in mind.

Green pencil with text yes, no, undecided

Document Purpose

This is a non-partisan Snapshot, as of September 6, 2021, of the major parties’ election platforms (New Democratic Party of Canada, Liberal Party of Canada, Conservative Party of Canada), focused on those commitments, that in the author’s opinion, would be of interest to older Canadians and their caregivers.

Other commitments relating to climate change, economic policies, COVID-19 pandemic management, among of few, while relevant to Canadians, were not called out in the Snapshot because they are not directly related to senior living topics of health care, affordable housing, long term care, home care, income protection, consumer protection and caregiver benefits.

Where the platforms address a topic, information is extracted verbatim where possible. In the event a party is not listed for a particular topic, then the topic was not addressed in the platform based on a full review of the platforms. Comparative analysis was also performed using key word searches. Finally, you’ll see page references for online (not print versions) platform documents, throughout the Snapshot – if you want to dive deeper into each of the platforms.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Health Care, Pharmacare and Dental Care Programs
Taxing Wealthy Canadians
Affordable Housing and Connected Communities
Improving Long-Term Care and Home Care
Supporting Personal Support Workers and Health Care Workers
Increasing Private Pension Protections
Reuniting Families
Strengthening Income Security Programs of Retirees

Helping Working Retirees  
Improving Caregiver Benefits
Making Aging in Place More Affordable

Making Home Appliance & Electronics Repairs Easier
GST Holiday
Improving Banking Services and Data Privacy
Restoring Door-to-Door Mail Delivery
1-800 Telephone # for Senior Services 


You may have heard about these ...

While the following commitments have been widely communicated on TV and social media in recent weeks, here’s a summary, by major political party, of big ticket items related to healthcare, housing, taxation policy, long-term care, home care and personal support workers.

Looking for more information on these senior living topics? I've got them covered in blog posts and on my Youtube channel. Take a look at naturally occurring retirement communities, co-housing and affordable senior housing. Check these posts out if you want to learn more about long-term care, retirement home living and homecare options with a focus on Ontario. And learn about aging in place and the care continuum here.


Health Care, Pharmacare and Dental Care Programs

NDP

  • “.. are leading the fight to expand Medicare, to include quality prescription drug coverage for everyone, regardless of your job, where you live, your health status or how much money you make. We will begin working with the provinces right away to target a 2022 start date, with an annual federal investment of $10 billion. (Pg 14)
  • Details of the dental care program, announced 09/05/2021, is designed to partly cover expenses of Canadians with an annual income of less than $90,000 per year, and fully cover people who earn less than $60,000 per year. 
  • “…will work with the provinces and territories to tackle wait times and improve access to primary care across the country – and we’ll work with the provinces to develop public infrastructure for secure, accessible virtual healthcare.” (Pg 55)
  • “…identify incoming gaps in health human resources and make a plan to recruit and retain the doctors, nurses and other health professionals needed.” (Pg 55)

Liberals

  • Strengthening federal powers under the Canada Health Act and the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act to deduct health transfers from provinces who enable extra billing for publicly insured services, in order to protect the integrity of the universal public health care system. (pg 13)
  • Immediately invest $6 billion – on top of $4 billion already committed – to support the elimination of health system waitlists. (Pg 12)
  • Negotiate agreements with every province and territory to ensure that Canadians who are waiting for care get the treatment they need as quickly as possible, and that the primary care system is positioned for the future and able to deliver the care outcomes that Canadians need. (Pg 12)
  • Provide $3.2 billion to hire of 7,500 new family doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners. (Pg 12)
  • Provide $400 million over 4 years to build on the growing demand for virtual care that arose during the pandemic. (Pg 12)

Conservatives

  • “…will meet with the Premiers within the first 100 days of forming a government to propose a new health agreement with the provinces and territories that boosts the annual growth rate of the Canada Health Transfer to at least 6%. This will inject nearly $60 billion into our healthcare system over the next ten years.” (Pg 33)

Taxing Wealthy Canadians

What is it? 2021 Federal Marginal Tax Rate is 33% on Taxable Income over $216, 511 - the top marginal tax rate for individuals.

NDP

  • To make our tax system fairer and more progressive, [we] will also increase the amount of investment profits subject to capital gains taxation to 75%, the rate that was in place in 2000. (Pg 114)
  • “…will also boost the top marginal tax rate two points, put in place a luxury goods tax on things like yachts and private jets, and ask the very richest multi-millionaires to pay a bit more towards our shared services with a wealth tax”. (Pg 39)
  • For the highest income individuals in Canada (those making over $210,000), we will increase the top marginal tax rate by two points to 35 percent. Those at the very top – super-rich multi-millionaires with over $10 million in wealth – will be asked to pay more towards our shared services with a 1% wealth tax. (Pg 114)

Liberals

  • Create a minimum tax rule so that everyone who earns enough to qualify for the top tax bracket pays at least 15% each year (the tax rate paid by people earning less than $49,000), removing their ability to artificially pay no tax through excessive use of deductions and credits. (Pg 79)
  • Implement a tax on luxury cars, boats, and planes as outlined in Budget 2021. (Pg 79).

Conservatives

  • "The Trudeau Liberals recently admitted that their high-net-worth compliance program had failed to prosecute even one person over the last six years. Under Justin Trudeau, the Canada Revenue Agency continues to after small businesses while ignoring those rich enough to pay for expensive lawyers and accountants." (Pg 79)
  • “…[we will] fix this [high-net-worth compliance] program and ensure that the wealthy pay their fair share”. (Pg 79)

Affordable Housing and Connected Communities

NDP

  • "…will create at least 500,000 units of quality, affordable housing in the next ten years, with half of that done within five years. This will be achieved with the right mix of effective measures that work in partnership with provinces and municipalities, build capacity for social, community, and affordable housing providers, to provide rental support for co-ops, and meet environmental energy efficiency goals.” (Pg 11)
  • “…will also spur the construction of affordable homes by waiving the federal portion of the GST/HST on the construction of new affordable rental units…” (Pg 11)
  • We’ll also support connection to community and tackle seniors’ isolation by improving seniors’ access to technology and support to stay connected with family, providing more funding for community programs that do outreach to seniors to combat isolation, working with cities to make transit more affordable and convenient, creating more community recreation spaces, and supporting innovative housing solutions like intergenerational co-housing. (Pg 64)
  • This will include social housing, community and non-market housing as well as rental assistance for co-ops. (Pg 85)
  • “..will provide resources to facilitate co-housing, such as model co-housing agreements and connections to local resources, and ease access to financing by offering CMHC-backed co-ownership mortgages. (Pg 12)

Liberals

  • Our plan will build or revitalize an additional 250,000 homes over 4 years. On top of the 285,000 home currently being built each year, this will mean nearly 1.4 million homes will be built, preserved, or revitalized by 2025-26. (Pg 20)
  • The Liberal Housing Plan will support the construction of 100,000 middle class homes, helping more families achieve the goal of home ownership, while also building more than 20,000 more units of new affordable rental housing, and ensuring 130,000 units are revitalized from a state [of] critical disrepair – “an element completely ignored in the Conservative plan” – and helping thousands of families per year access better housing that works for them. (Pg 22)
  • Permanently increase funding to the National Housing Co-Investment fund by a total of $2.7 billion over 4 years, more than double its current allocation. (Pg 21) [This Fund supports the new and revitalization construction of mixed-income, mixed-tenure, mixed-use affordable housing]. 
    These extra funds will be dedicated to helping housing providers acquire land and buildings to build and preserve more units, extending the model of co-operative housing to new communities, accelerating critical repairs so that housing supply remains affordable and is not lost, and developing projects for vulnerable groups such as women, youth, and persons with disabilities. (Pg 21)
  • Stop excessive profits in the financialization of housing. (Pg 23)
  • Review the tax treatment of these large corporate owners. (Pg 23)
    Put in place policies to curb excessive profits in this area, while protecting small independent landlords. (Pg 23)
  • Review the down payment requirements for investment properties.(Pg 23)
  • Stop renovictions by deterring unfair rent increases that fall outside of a normal change in rent. (Pg 22)
  • Require landlords to disclose, on their tax filing, the rent they received pre- and post-renovation, and implement a proportional surtax if the increase in rent is excessive. (Pg 22)

Conservatives

  • To swiftly increase supply, we will implement a plan to build 1 million homes in the next three years. (Pg 28)
  • Leverage federal infrastructure investments to increase housing supply. We will: (Pg 28)
  • Build public transit infrastructure that connects homes and jobs by bringing public transit to where people are buying homes; and (Pg 28)
  • Require municipalities receiving federal funding for public transit to increase density near the funded transit. (Pg 28)
  • Enhance the viability of using Community Land Trusts for affordable housing by creating an incentive for corporations and private landowners to donate property to Land Trusts for the development of affordable housing. (Pg 28)
  • “…encourage foreign investment in purpose-built rental housing that is affordable to Canadians". (Pg 29)

Improving Long-Term Care and Home Care

NDP

  • “…believe that families need access to quality home care and long-term care no matter where they live. To that end, we will end private, for-profit long-term care and bring long-term care homes under the public umbrella, beginning with the federally-owned long term care company Revera." (Pg 56)
  • To deliver these results all across the country, [sic] we will lead a National Seniors Strategy that will work with the provinces, territories and Indigenous governments to make health care a priority, reduce isolation and tackle seniors’ poverty. This will include a funded national dementia strategy, and an elder abuse prevention plan developed with seniors to put an end to abuse and neglect in our communities. . (Pg 64)
  • We 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, [we] would legally protect access to home care and long-term care services, and ensure a consistent quality of care across the country. (Pg 56)
  • This process will be backed by funding tied to meeting these standards, and include determining a core basket of home care services that will be available and covered by provincial insurance plans, and setting minimum national care standards for long-term care residents. (Pg 57)

Liberals

  • “…work with provinces and territories, respecting their jurisdiction, to support seniors with an investment of $9 billion over 5 years to support safer conditions for seniors and improved wages and working conditions for personal support workers.” (Pg 15)
  • Develop a Safe Long-Term Care Act collaboratively to ensure seniors are guaranteed the care they deserve, no matter where they live. (Pg 15)
  • Improve the quality and availability of long-term care homes and beds. (Pg 15)
  • Implement strict infection prevention and control measures, including through more provincial and territorial facility inspections for long-term care homes. (Pg 15)

Conservatives

  • “…will devote  $3 billion of infrastructure funding over three years to renovate Long-Term Care Homes in all provinces and territories across Canada to improve the care that residents receive. We will encourage partnerships with private non-profits that have historically provided a significant amount of Long-Term Care." (Pg 76)
  • We will invite the provinces to work with us 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 their jurisdiction. However, we 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. (Pg 75)
  • “…will provide stronger protection for seniors by amending the Criminal Code provisions on failing to provide the necessities of life to make clear that the operator of a licensed care facility shall be presumed to have a legal duty to the residents of that facility." (Pg 46)

Supporting Personal Support Workers and Health Care Workers

NDP

  • “…will also 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." (Pg 57)
  • Better long-term care starts with making sure that the workers providing this care have better wages, stable jobs and health and safety protections. Paying and protecting long-term care workers will be an essential part of the approach to national standards. (Pg 57)

Liberals

  • Raise wages for personal support workers, including a guaranteed minimum wage of at least $25 per hour. (Pg 15)
  • Training up to 50,000 new personal support workers. (Pg 15)

Conservatives

  • Will help meet the need of Personal Support Workers by: (Pg 76)
  • Providing priority in immigration programs to those who can work in Long-Term Care or homecare. (Pg 76)
  • Promoting these careers through immigration and refugee settlement programs. (Pg 76)

What You May Have Missed...

Over the early weeks of election campaigning, there has been less focus on the following senior living-related themes. Topics ranging from private pension protections, improving existing and introducing caregiver benefits, making aging in place more affordable, and many others. If there's a topic(s) that sparks your interest, then check out the underlying platform document by following the page reference for the online version (not print version).


Increasing Private Pension Protections

NDP

  • “…will make sure pensioners are at the front of the line when a company goes bankrupt – making sure unfunded pension liabilities owed to workers, and employees’ severance pay, are the top priority for repayment. (Pg 63)
  • “…stop companies from paying out dividends and bonuses when pensions are under-funded, and we’ll create a mandatory, industry-financed pension insurance program to make sure that no worker is deprived of the retirement benefits they’ve earned through no fault of their own”. (Pg 63)

Conservatives

  • Will change legislation to ensure that pensioners have priority “over corporate elites” in bankruptcy or restructuring. (Pg 76)
  • We will also better protect pensions by:
  • Preventing executives from paying themselves bonuses while managing a company going through restructuring if the pension plan is not fully funded. (Pg 76)
    No longer forcing underfunded pension plans from being converted into annuities, something that currently locks in losses and results in workers getting less money. (Pg 76)
    Requiring companies to report the funding status of their pension plans more clearly. (Pg 76)

Reuniting Families

NDP

  • And we’ll treat caregivers brought to Canada with respect and dignity, providing them with status and allowing them to reunite with their families without delay. (Pg 91)
    “…will end the unfair cap on applications to sponsor parents and grandparents, and take on the backlogs that are keeping families apart." (Pg 91)

Liberals

  • Reduce processing times that have been impacted by COVID-19 to under 12 months. (Pg 44)
  • Introduce electronic applications for family reunification. (Pg 44)
  • Implement a program to issue visas to spouses and children abroad while they wait for the processing of their permanent residency application, so that families can be together sooner. (Pg 44)

Conservatives

  • Scrapping the “Trudeau Liberals’ family reunification lottery”. (Pg 64)
  • Replacing it with a system combining a first-come, first served principle with weighting to prioritize applicants on criteria such as providing child care or family support, and language proficiency. (Pg 64)
  • Investing additional resources to ensure the applications are processed more rapidly. (Pg 64)
  • While continuing to support the parents and grandparents program, … will significantly expand the super visa program. We will: (Pg 64)
  • Allow family member of Canadians to come and live in Canada for up to five years without permanent status, renewing their stay for additional time, where appropriate, provided that they purchase health insurance. (Pg 64)
  • Allow those coming to Canada on a super visa to purchase health insurance from the government of the their province or territory on a cost-recovery basis where the provincial or territorial government wishes to offer this option. (Pg 64)

Strengthening Income Security Programs of Retirees

NDP

  • “…will create a Pension Advisory Commission to develop a long-term plan to enhance Old Age Security [(“OAS”)], boost the Guaranteed Income Supplement [(“GIS”)] to lift all seniors out of poverty, and strengthen the Canada Pension Plan [("CPP")]. (Pg 63)
  • We’ll also make automatic [enrolment] in OAS and GIS retroactive, so no retiree misses out on benefits that they should be receiving, and support efforts to make sure Canadians have good retirement financial literacy. (Pg 63)
  • We’ll put in place a one-year delay to help seniors at risk of having their GIS benefits suspended for being unable to make the required income statement. (Pg 64)

Liberals

  • Move forward with our plan to boost OAS by 10% next year for seniors 75 and over. (Pg 25)
  • Increase GIS by $500 for single seniors and $750 for couples, starting at age 65. (Pg 25)
  • Work with all provinces and territories over the next year to increase support survivors, many whom are women, receive by increasing the CPP and Quebec Pension Plan survivor’s benefit by 25%. (Pg 25)

Helping Working Retirees

Career Extension Tax Credit


Liberals

What is it? The proposed Career Extension Tax Credit for people 65 and over, who earn a working income, designed to reduce their taxes payable.What is it? Introduc[ing] a Career Extension Tax Credit to help seniors who want to stay in the workforce, stay in the workforce.

  • The tax credit will let people 65 and over, who earn a working income, reduce their taxes. Seniors who earn a minimum of $5,000 at their jobs will be able to eliminate tax payable on a portion of their income and receive a tax credit of up to $1,650. (Pg 32)

Canada Workers Benefit

Conservatives

What is it? The Canada Workers Benefit is a refundable tax credit for individuals and families who are working and earning a low income.

  • Will double the Canada Workers Benefit up to a maximum of $2,800 for individuals or $5,000 for families and pay it as a quarterly direct deposit rather than a tax refund at year-end. This will help seniors who choose to continue working past retirement to give themselves a bit more income. It will provide a $1/hour raise for low-income seniors includ[ing] many who choose to work part-time to supplement their retirement income. (Pg 76)

Improving Caregiver Benefits 

Canada Caregiver Tax Credit

What is it? The Canada Caregiver Tax Credit is is a non-refundable tax credit that may be available to taxpayers with dependents where the dependent relies on the taxpayer to regularly and consistently provide them with some or all of the basic necessities of life, such as food, shelter and clothing. 

NDP 

  • In order to help make life a little more affordable for caregivers, who are overwhelmingly women, we’ll make the Canada Caregiver Tax Credit refundable. (Pg 64)

Liberals

  • Expand the Canada Caregiver Credit into a refundable, tax-free benefit. This will help 200,000 more Canadians qualify, and increase the support of 448,000 people. (Pg 24)
    Make the Canada Caregiver Credit refundable, allowing caregivers to receive up to $1,250 per year. (Pg 24)  
     

Canada Seniors Care Benefit


Conservatives

What is it? The proposed Canada Seniors Care Benefit is a benefit designed to pay a monthly benefit to qualified households.

  • Will help the many Canadians who are taking care of their parents and help seniors avoid having to live in Long-Term Care homes by:
    Introducing 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. (Pg 75)

Medical Expense Tax Credit

Conservatives

What is it? The Medical Expense Tax Credit allows taxpayers to claim eligible medical expenses on their tax returns.

  • 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.”. . (Pg 75)

Making Aging in Place More Affordable

Home Accessibility Tax Credit

What is it? The Home Accessibility Tax Credit is a non-refundable tax credit for the eligible expenses related to additions, alterations, or renovations incurred to make a home more accessible for a disabled person or a senior citizen.


Liberals

  • Double the Home Accessibility Tax Credit, to $20,000, putting up to $1,500 back in the [pockets] of Canadians who need it. (Pg 26). (Pg 26)
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. (Pg 75)

Multi-Generational Home Renovation Tax Credit

Liberals

What is it? Introduce a new Multigenerational Home Renovation tax credit to help families add a secondary unit to their home for an immediate or extended family member.

  • Families will be able to claim a 15% tax credit for up to $50,000 in renovation and construction costs, to a maximum of $7,500. (Pg 21)

Aging at Home Benefit

Liberals

  • Establish an expert panel to provide recommendations for an Aging at Home Benefit. (Pg 26)

Making Home Appliance & Electronics Repairs Easier


NDP

  • To expand consumer choice and cut down on waste, we’ll establish the right to repair electronic devices and other products at affordable prices, and make companies responsible for e-waste linked to their products. (Pg 20)

Liberals

  • Implement a “right to repair” to extend the life of home appliances, particularly electronics, by requiring manufacturers to supply repair manuals and spare parts and facilitate their replication after the part is no longer produced. (Pg 57)
  • Introduce a new 15% tax credit to cover the cost of home appliance repairs performed by technicians (up to $500). (Pg 57)
  • Introduce a bill that includes provisions to better inform citizens of the environmental impacts of consumer products. (Pg 57)
  • Require businesses to inform Canadians of the environmental impacts of consumer products. (Pg 57)
  • Amend the Copyright Act to ensure that its provisions cannot prevent the repair of digital devices and systems, even when nothing is being copied or distributed. (Pg 57)

GST Holiday


Conservatives

  • Will implement a month-long GST holiday this fall. All purchases made at retail stores will be tax free for this month. (Pg 26)

Improving Banking Services and Data Privacy


NDP

  • ‘…have the courage to stand up for you and increase consumer protection for financial transactions and require financial advisors to offer advice that is in your best financial interest, not what is best for the bank’s bottom line. This will mean more powers to investigate and enforce these rules, and compensation for consumers who have been misled. We will also bring in legislation to protect your privacy and prevent credit and debit card companies from selling your personal information. (Pg 20)

Liberals

  • Require financial institutions offer flexible repayment options by default if you fall on hard times or face a life event that causes financial stress. (Pg 37)
  • Establish a single, independent ombudsperson for handling consumer complaints involving banks, with the power to impose binding arbitration. (Pg 37)
  • Enhance the powers of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada to review the prices charged by banks and impose changes if they are excessive. (Pg 37)
  • Move forward with a made-in-Canada model of open banking that will launch no later than the beginning of 2023. This system will ensure that you, not your bank, control your data. (Pg 37)
  • Modernize Canada’s payment technology to deliver faster and lower cost options so that you can securely and conveniently manage money, pay bills, and transfer funds to loved ones around the world. (Pg 37)
  • We will move forward on legislation that will implement the Digital Charter, strengthen privacy protections for consumers, and provide a clear set of rules that ensure fair competition in the online marketplace. (Pg 33)

Conservatives

  • Will ensure that Canadians get the banking services they need at a price they can afford by: (Pg 27)
  • Bringing in legislation on open banking so that Canadians can connect with fintech companies that can give [sic] a better offer for banking services such as a mortgage, line of credit or credit card. (Pg 27)
  • Ordering the Competition Bureau to investigate bank fees. (Pg 27)
  • Requirement more transparency for investment management fees so that seniors and savers “don’t get ripped off.” (Pg 27)
  • This will include requiring the banks to show investment returns net of fees. (Pg 27)
  • We will pass strong legislation to protect privacy “more effectively than the current government’s weak Bill C-11.” (Pg 74)

Restoring Door-to-Door Mail Delivery


NDP

  • Now that we rely on mail more than ever, [we] have your back to restore door-to-door mail delivery to all communities that lost it under the Conservative government, and protect against future cuts to this important service. (Pg 19)

1-800 Telephone # for Senior Services 

Liberals

  • To help seniors navigate government services and access all the benefits they are entitled to, [we will] introduce a 1-800 help line for seniors to provide a single point of access to a wide range of government services and benefits. (Pg 26)
     


If you’ve got comments on this information or if you're looking for assistance identifying a senior living option that fits your needs, contact us for a free one-hour consultation.  


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