Apr 19, 2021
By Christine Ross
The Trudeau government is betting billions more of debt will pay itself back in economic growth by helping workers find jobs and small businesses adapt.
The Liberals first budget in two years estimates all the spending should create or keep some 330,000 jobs next year.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland admits her government has failed seniors especially those in long-term care adding the pandemic has “preyed on seniors, mercilessly ending thousands of lives” and she apologized on behalf of her government. Freeland promised billions to close gaps in long-term care.
“That’s why we propose a $3 billion dollar investment to help ensure that provinces and territories provide a high standard of care in their long term care facilities.”
But CARP’s interim chief policy officer Bill Van Gorder tells Zoomer Radio News he’s disappointed by the lack of details.
“What CARP has been asking for is appropriate long term care standards, applied across the country so that all older Canadians are able to have the same high standard of care.”
More than 15,000 seniors died of COVID-19 in long-term care homes, almost two-thirds of Canada’s total death toll from the pandemic to date.
The budget also proposes a $90-million dollar investment over three years to launch the Age Well at Home initiative to help low income and vulnerable seniors age in place.
It would include things like matching seniors with volunteers to help with meal prep, daily errands and transportation.
And Ottawa is also improving benefits for seniors through the Old Age Security. The budget proposes a one-time payment of $500 this August to pensioners who will be 75 or older as of June next year. It would introduce legislation to boost regular O-A-S payments for those 75 or older by 10-percent on an ongoing basis as of July 2020.
The government estimates the second measure would raise benefits for about 3.3 million seniors with an added $766 going to full pensioners in the first-year giving them more financial security later in life.
Freeland also acknowledged the sacrifice women have made in the pandemic.
“COVID has brutally exposed something women have long known, without childcare, parents, usually mothers can’t work.”
She said the pandemic drove women’s participation in the labour force down to its lowest level in more than two decades. The
budget proposes subsidizing child care, cutting the cost by 50 per cent on average, by next year and lowering licensed daycare costs to $10-dollars per-day in a few years. Freeland says it’s a historic investment.
The finance minister says all the extra spending with few new taxes will send the deficit to $154.7-billion this fiscal year , just one year after a record-smashing $354-billion caused by COVID.