QUÉBEC, March 20, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - "As of 2016-2017, the government will add nearly $900 million annually in support for seniors. These funds will be used for a series of measures designed to help seniors remain in their community. We have to take care of our parents, we owe them everything," the Minister of Finance, Raymond Bachand, announced today in tabling the Québec government's Budget 2012-2013.
Helping our seniors remain active in their community
The Minister noted that Québec is on the verge of profound demographic changes in the coming years.
"Our seniors are living longer and in better health. In addition, most of them choose to grow old at home. This emerging demographic reality makes it necessary to recognize the need for increased support and assistance for our seniors by taking concrete steps designed to help them remain in their community for as long as possible, thereby promoting a genuine sharing between the generations. Hence the 2012-2017 Growing Old at Home Action Plan that my colleagues, the Minister for Social Services and the Minister responsible for Seniors, will unveil this spring. This action plan will be backed up by $2.7 billion in resources."
Supporting projects in the community
Of this sum, $76 million will be invested over five years, in particular, to implement the Age-Friendly Québec Program, aimed at fostering the transmission and recognition of seniors' knowledge and know-how. It will have several components, one of which will consist in extending the Age-Friendly Municipalities Initiative to more than 800 municipalities.
"Establishing conditions that help seniors actively participate in their community is beneficial both for society and for seniors themselves. We will create twelve new Maisons des grands-parents. These are a concrete example of how the generations can be brought together through activities such as homework assistance and collective kitchens," the Minister declared.
Better adapted health services
The Minister explained that $2.3 billion will be allocated to health services better adapted to the needs of seniors. "In five years, we will offer home-support services to 50 000 more people than at present. We will have 5 600 new non-institutional structured accommodation spaces, as well as 850 institutional accommodation spaces," he noted by way of example.
Furthermore, investments of $86 million will make it possible to improve housing conditions for seniors. Of the new housing units announced under the AccèsLogis Program in Budget 2012-2013, 1 250 will be for seniors.
Enhanced tax assistance for home support
"Under the Growing Old at Home Action Plan, the budget also enhances or implements a series of tax measures. For example, the refundable tax credit for informal caregivers of a spouse unable to live alone will be enhanced. In order to offer them more respite, Budget 2012-2013 gradually raises the tax credit from $607 to $1 000 over the period up to 2016. This enhanced assistance will improve the situation of more than 15 000 spouses acting as informal caregivers," the Minister announced.
He also indicated that the refundable tax credit for home-support services for seniors will be increased.
The government is also introducing a refundable tax credit for the purchase of equipment to help seniors continue living independently at home and a refundable tax credit for costs incurred by seniors for a stay in a functional rehabilitation transition unit.
Enhancement and implementation of these tax credits will require investments of $172 million. Some 222 000 seniors will be able to benefit from this assistance.
"All these initiatives will enable seniors to remain in their life environment for longer. They will participate more fully in the development of their community by contributing to society, particularly through volunteer work," the Minister concluded.
For further information:
Office of the Minister of Finance, Minister of Revenue
and Minister responsible for the Montréal region