OTTAWA, April 21, 2015 /CNW/ - Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) CEO Anne Sutherland Boal was on Parliament Hill as the government unveiled its 2015 federal budget. CNA was particularly interested in how the federal government would address the health-care needs of a growing seniors population. Though positive initiatives were included, CNA will work for improved community and home health care for seniors in the upcoming federal election. Without these improvements, Canadians and our health-care system could be facing an uphill battle with increased demand for hospital, long-term and home care.
"The Canadian Nurses Association is a champion for better seniors care and healthy aging," said Sutherland Boal. "As the largest health-care provider group, registered nurses have the most regular, consistent and direct interactions with older patients and their families. Nurses play a pivotal role in promoting and protecting the health of seniors. This is also an area where Canadians have clearly told us they want action, as evidenced in recent national polls. Every person is touched by aging in some way, and it's a growing concern as the senior population increases."
"This federal budget offered several initiatives that will help or have the potential to assist older Canadians," Sutherland Boal said. "First, relaxing the withdrawal rules for Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) recognizes how tight seniors' budgets can be. This step will hopefully ease the financial strain of fixed incomes at a time when health and wellness needs are more costly. Second, the budget recognized the vital role of family caregivers by extending the existing compassionate care leave allowance and introducing a new tax-free family caregiver relief benefit for those who care for veterans. Both these initiatives address the serious needs of family members who, in caring for their aging relatives, are often placed in the difficult position of having to balance caregiving with employment and raising their own families. At the same time, CNA would have liked the government to have made the Family Caregiver Tax Credit refundable. That way, more Canadians could actually receive money in return for their caregiving commitments."
CNA was also encouraged to see the new Home Accessibility Tax Credit to help ensure seniors' homes are safe, secure and accessible, allowing them to age independently in their own homes. Other noteworthy health investments include:
- $14 million over two years for the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement
- Renewing the Mental Health Commission of Canada mandate for another 10 years
- Establishing the Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation
- Funding for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research that will continue to expand the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research and examine anti-microbial resistant infections
CNA is the national professional voice of registered nurses in Canada representing 135,000 registered nurses. CNA advances the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and strengthen Canada's publicly funded, not-for-profit health system.
SOURCE Canadian Nurses Association
For further information: Kate Headley, External Communications Coordinator, Canadian Nurses Association, Telephone: 613-237-2159, ext. 561, Cell: 613-697-7507, E-mail: [email protected]