Government of Canada highlights ongoing commitment to care for families and seniors at the Families in Canada Conference 2015

OTTAWA, June 11, 2015 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), highlighted the Government of Canada's work to tackle issues facing Canadians caring for family members, including seniors, at the Families in Canada Conference 2015. The conference, hosted by the Vanier Institute of the Family, is an important opportunity to converse with leaders from diverse professions, disciplines and backgrounds, all of whom bring their unique perspectives to discuss the issues and experiences faced by families today.

In her remarks, Minister Wong highlighted the measures the Government has taken to address the challenges that Canadians face in providing care for children, family members with disabilities or serious illnesses and injuries, and seniors, including those at end of life. Minister Wong highlighted the Canadian Employers for Caregivers Plan as well as the report released by the Employer Panel for Caregivers earlier this year. The report illustrates best practices for employers to help their employees balance work and caregiving responsibilities.

Minister Wong also spoke about the recent launch of two calls for proposals for the New Horizons for Seniors Program. These calls provide opportunities for organizations to run projects that could address issues of care related to the social isolation of seniors.

The Government has proposed additional measures to help make life more affordable for Canadian families. The new measures include enhancing the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB), introducing the Family Tax Cut and making improvements to the Child Care Expenses Deduction and the Children's Fitness Tax Credit. Under the proposed enhancements to the UCCB, families would receive $160 per month (up to $1,920 per year) for each child under the age of 6, and $60 per month (up to $720 per year) for each child aged 6 through 17.

Quick Facts

  • The Government of Canada recognizes the important role of unpaid family caregivers and offers them a variety of supports, including the Family Caregiver Tax Credit, Employment Insurance compassionate care benefits, the Canadian Employers for Caregivers Plan and an Information for Caregivers portal on Canada.ca/Seniors.
  • There are currently 6.1 million employed Canadians, or 35 percent of our workforce, providing care to a family member or friend with a long-term health condition, a physical or mental disability, or problems related to aging.
  • Economic Action Plan 2015 proposes to provide an additional $37 million annually to extend Employment Insurance compassionate care benefits from six weeks to six months, which may be taken within an expanded period of 52 weeks (one year). This measure will come into effect on January 3, 2016.

Quotes

"I would like to congratulate the Vanier Institute of the Family on hosting the Families in Canada Conference 2015 during their 50th anniversary year. It is with opportunities like these that we can come together to share our knowledge and experience in our efforts to better meet the needs of Canadian families."
– The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors)

Associated Links

Information for Caregivers
Canada.ca/Seniors 
When Work and Caregiving Collide: How Employers Can Support Their Employees Who Are Caregivers 
New Horizons for Seniors Program 
Family Tax Cut and the Universal Child Care Benefit 
Employment Insurance compassionate care benefits 
Canada Labour Code


Backgrounder


Canadian Employers for Caregivers Plan

There are currently 6.1 million employed Canadians, or 35 percent of our workforce, providing care to a family member or friend with a long-term health condition, a physical or mental disability, or problems related to aging. Many caregivers struggle to balance their work with their care responsibilities, resulting in negative employment consequences.

To help support the labour force participation of employee caregivers and maintain workplace productivity, last year the Government of Canada launched the Canadian Employers for Caregivers Plan and established the Employer Panel for Caregivers.

The Employer Panel for Caregivers consulted with 114 employers from across Canada and produced a report of the results, When Work and Caregiving Collide: How Employers Can Support Their Employees Who Are Caregivers. The report provides employers with helpful resources, best practices and practical suggestions on how they can create a more caregiver-friendly workplace.

The Canadian Employers for Caregivers Plan also includes the development of business cases analyzing the cost-benefit of existing workplace supports and the exploration of mechanisms for sustained employer engagement in this area. 

For more information, visit Canada.ca/Seniors.

New Horizons for Seniors Program

The New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) is a federal grants and contributions program that supports projects led or inspired by seniors who make a difference in the lives of others and their communities. Through the NHSP, the Government of Canada encourages seniors to share their knowledge, skills and experiences to the benefit of others.

The objectives of the NHSP are:

  • promoting volunteerism among seniors;
  • engaging seniors in the community through mentoring of others;
  • expanding awareness of elder abuse, including financial abuse;
  • supporting social participation and inclusion of seniors; and
  • providing capital assistance for new and existing community projects and/or programs for seniors.

NHSP funding supports pan-Canadian and community-based projects that keep Canadian seniors active, engaged and informed. NHSP calls for proposals for both community-based projects and pan-Canadian projects are currently open. The application period for both calls for proposals began on May 29, 2015 and will close on July 10, 2015.

For more information on the NHSP, visit Canada.ca/Seniors.

Family Tax Cut and the Universal Child Care Benefit

The Family Tax Cut is a new federal non-refundable tax credit available to eligible couples with children under the age of 18 that would allow a spouse to, in effect, transfer up to $50,000 of taxable income to a spouse in a lower income tax bracket, up to a maximum benefit of $2,000. Tax relief is calculated on the basis of the difference in tax before and after the effective transfer of income. The new Family Tax Cut will apply as of the 2014 and subsequent taxation years.

In Budget 2006, the Government introduced the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB), which provides all eligible families with $100 per month for each child under the age of 6. The UCCB currently provides direct federal support to over 1.6 million families with young children.

The Government is proposing to enhance the UCCB. Under the proposed changes, the UCCB will provide $160 per month for each child under the age of 6 and $60 per month for children aged 6 through 17. Over the course of a full year, parents would receive up to $1,920 for each child under the age of 6 and up to $720 for each child aged 6 through 17. About 4 million families will benefit from the proposed enhancements to the UCCB.

For more information on the Family Tax Cut and the UCCB, visit www.canada.ca/taxsavings.

Employment Insurance compassionate care benefits

The Government of Canada announced in Budget 2015 its intention to extend the duration of Employment Insurance compassionate care benefits to better support Canadians caring for a sick family member with a significant risk of death.

Economic Action Plan 2015 proposes to provide an additional $37 million annually to extend Employment Insurance compassionate care benefits from six weeks to six months, which may be taken within an expanded period of 52 weeks (one year). This measure will come into effect on January 3, 2016.

For more information on Employment Insurance compassionate care benefits, visit www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/ei/types/compassionate_care.shtml.

Amendments to the Canada Labour Code

Budget 2015 proposed amendments to the Canada Labour Code to ensure that the jobs of employees in federally regulated industries are protected while they receive Employment Insurance compassionate care benefits.

In addition, Budget 2015 made a commitment to introduce new short-term and long-term unpaid leaves for family responsibilities and increase bereavement leave to provide employees in federally regulated industries with more flexibility to balance work and informal caregiving obligations in times of need.

For more information on the Canada Labour Code, visit www.labour.gc.ca/eng/resources/laws/index.shtml.

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SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information: Justin Wood, Office of the Minister of State (Seniors), 613-852-3761; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca


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