TORONTO, June 6, 2011 /CNW/ - A new family caregiver tax credit
announced in today's federal government budget is an important step
forward in providing more support for family caregivers, says the
Canadian Cancer Society.
"The Society has been leading the way in advocating for more financial
support for family caregivers and the tax credit announced today is a
good beginning," says Dan Demers, Director, Public Issues, Canadian
Cancer Society. "While the tax credit will provide relief to caregivers
of relatives, the federal government and health groups must continue to
work collectively so that all family caregivers in Canada get the
financial support they need and deserve."
One in four Canadians has cared for a loved one with a serious illness
in the last 12 months. This often results in lost income, as well as
the increased financial burden of unforeseen expenses such as
transportation, medical equipment and supplies, drugs and more. Demers
adds that in a recent Society poll, 88 per cent of Canadians said that
providing care or assistance for a family member would have a negative
impact on their financial situation.
The Society has been advocating for better financial support for family
caregivers through improvements to the Compassionate Care Benefit,
which is administered by the federal employment insurance program.
These improvements include:
Timeframe for financial benefits: Increase the benefit period from the current six weeks to 26 weeks,
accessible during a 52-week period.
More flexibility: allow people to claim benefits for partial weeks taken over a longer
period, rather than blocks of weeks at a time.
Revise eligibility criteria: change the terminology for people eligible for benefits from
"significant risk of death" to "significant need of caregiving due to a
life threatening illness."
Amend the Canada Labour Code to protect the jobs of caregivers.
Palliative care funding
As an advocate for more funding for, and better coordination of,
palliative care services in Canada, the Society also welcomes the $3
million funding announced in the budget to support the development of
new community palliative care models.
"This is a step in the right direction in addressing this crucial issue,
but much more needs to be done," says Paul Lapierre, Vice President,
Public Affairs and Cancer Control, Canadian Cancer Society. "Uniform,
high-quality support for any person dying of cancer or any other
disease should be available no matter where they live. The Society will
continue to work on behalf of Canadians on this important issue."
Lapierre adds that caregiver and palliative care issues must be
addressed now because this country's population is aging and
increasingly Canadians will be caring for loved ones who have cancer
and other life threatening serious illnesses.
"An effective and compassionate society helps families who are caring
for sick loved ones and must make provisions so that dying patients
spend their final days with dignity, free of pain and in a setting of
their choice," says Lapierre.
The Canadian Cancer Society fights cancer by doing everything we can to
prevent cancer, save lives and support people living with cancer. Join
the fight! Go to www.ifightcancer.ca to find out how you can help. When you want to know more about cancer,
visit our website at cancer.ca or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.
SOURCE Canadian Cancer Society (National Office)
For further information:
Bilingual Communications Specialist
Canadian Cancer Society