During the election campaign the Liberal Party of Canada presented commitments in their campaign platform “New Plan For A Strong Middle Class”.
After winning the election and forming government, the Prime Minister Trudeau laid out the priorities for his cabinet ministers in the ministerial mandate letters. These letters made it clear that health care was once again being given the attention it deserves within the federal government. In fact, the health of Canadians was identified as a priority in the letters of six of his ministers.
The CMA is focusing on the promises that relate to health and seniors care. On this page you will find information on progress to-date as we continue to monitor promises and commitments outlined in the 2016 Federal Budget “Growing the Middle Class”.
Will negotiate a new Health Accord with the provinces and territories, including a long-term agreement on funding.
Budget 2016 reaffirmed the federal government’s commitment to working in partnership with the provinces and territories to negotiate a new multi-year Health Accord that will improve health care in Canada and boost health outcomes for all Canadians.
- The minister of health has begun discussions with her provincial and territorial counterparts to enhance the affordability and accessibility of prescription drugs, improve access to home care and mental health services, and support pan-Canadian innovation in the delivery of health services.
Will increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement for single, low-income seniors by 10%.
Budget 2016 proposes to increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement top-up benefit by up to $947 annually for the most vulnerable single seniors starting in July 2016. This will support those seniors who rely almost exclusively on Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement benefits and may therefore be at risk of experiencing financial difficulties.
- This enhancement more than doubles the current maximum Guaranteed Income Supplement top-up benefit and represents a 10% increase in the total maximum Guaranteed Income Supplement benefits available to the lowest income single seniors.
Will make the compassionate care benefits more flexible – not just for family members who are at risk of death – by providing access to six months of benefits.
Not included in Budget 2016. However, the federal government is committed to further improving Employment Insurance benefits. As part of this commitment, it intends to make compassionate care benefits easier to access, more flexible and more inclusive for those who provide care for seriously ill family members. It also intends to provide more flexibility in parental leave benefits to better accommodate unique family and work situations. These objectives should be advanced over the course of the federal government’s mandate.
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 support for family care and, when necessary, palliative care.
Not included in Budget 2016. However, as part of the discussions on a new Health Accord, the minister of health has begun discussions with her provincial and territorial counterparts to improve access to home care and mental health services and support pan-Canadian innovation in the delivery of health services.
Will develop pan-Canadian collaboration on health innovation and will improve access to necessary prescription medications. Will join with the provinces and territories to buy drugs in bulk.
Not included in Budget 2016. However, as part of the discussions on a new Health Accord, the minister of health has begun discussions with her provincial and territorial counterparts to enhance the affordability and accessibility of prescription drugs.
Will budget $20 million to create two new centres of excellence in veterans’ care, including one with specialization in mental health, post-traumatic stress disorder and related issues for both veterans and first responders.
Included in Budget 2016, which proposes to restore critical access to services for veterans as well as ensure the long-term financial security of disabled veterans. Budget 2016 proposes to reopen and staff service offices in several communities (Charlottetown, Sydney, Corner Brook, Windsor, Thunder Bay, Saskatoon, Brandon, Prince George and Kelowna), open an additional office in Surrey and expand outreach to veterans in the North by working with local partners.
- Budget 2016 also proposes to hire additional case managers to reduce the client to case manager ratio to no more than 25:1.
Will introduce a new Seniors Price Index to make sure Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement benefits keep up with seniors’ actual rising costs.
Nothing included in Budget 2016. However, the federal government is committed to ensuring that Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement benefits keep pace with the actual costs of living faced by seniors.
- The federal government is therefore looking at how a new Seniors Price Index that reflects the cost of living faced by seniors could be developed.
Will restore the eligibility age for the OAS to 65 years.
Budget 2016 reaffirms that the eligibility ages of the Old Age Security program will be restored (by cancelling the provisions in the Old Age Security Act that increase the age of eligibility for Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement benefits from 65 to 67 years).
Will invest almost $20 billion more in Canada’s social infrastructure over the next decade.
Included in Budget 2016. Phase 1 of the federal government’s infrastructure plan proposes to provide $11.9 billion over five years, starting right away, including $3.4 billion over five years for social infrastructure for affordable housing, early learning and child care, cultural and recreational infrastructure, and community health care facilities on reserve.
Will prioritize investments in affordable housing and seniors’ facilities.
Included in Budget 2016, which proposes $1.5 billion over the next two years to support affordable housing. This includes $200.7 million to increase affordable housing for seniors (to support the construction, repair and adaptation of affordable housing for seniors).
- This investment is expected to help improve housing conditions for more than 5,000 low-income senior households.
- The federal government will consult with the provinces and territories, Indigenous peoples, other communities and key stakeholders in the coming year to develop a National Housing Strategy.
Will make high-quality mental health services more available to Canadians – including our veterans and first responders.
Not included in Budget 2016. However, as part of the discussions on a new Health Accord, the minister of health has begun discussions with her provincial and territorial counterparts to improve access to mental health services.
Will invest $100 million each year to expand the circle of support for veterans’ families.
Not included in Budget 2016. However, some modest increases were announced for veterans, including the following:
- The Disability Award for injuries or illnesses caused or worsened by military service will be increased (maximum increased to $360,000 in 2017) and aligned with other New Veterans Charter benefits by indexing it to inflation.
- Access to higher grades of the Permanent Impairment Allowance will be expanded to better support veterans who have had their career options limited by a service-related illness or injury.
- The estate exemption for the Last Post Fund will be increased from roughly $12,000 to roughly $35,000, and an annual cost of living adjustment will be applied to the estate exemption going forward.
- The Earnings Loss Benefit will be increased to provide income replacement of 90% of gross pre-release military salary for injured veterans participating in Veterans Affairs Canada’s rehabilitation or vocational assistance program or who have injuries preventing them from obtaining suitable and gainful employment.
- Over the next year, the federal government will work with the veterans’ community to examine the best way to streamline and simplify the system of financial support programs currently offered by Veterans Affairs Canada and National Defence for veterans and their families.