Government of Ontario Fails to Create Real Change for Seniors in 2022 Budget
April 28, TORONTO ON—CanAge, Canada’s National Seniors’ Advocacy Organization, is warning that the Government of Ontario has failed to make real change to help seniors in this election platform budget. The budget makes a long list of investments in economic growth such as highways, but only announces a handful of direct supports for seniors, including the previously announced $1 Billion for home care and a new Seniors Care Home Tax Credit that caps out at $1,500 per year for seniors making less than $65,000. Dementia care has been largely ignored and elder abuse, which has escalated an estimated 250% over the pandemic, is nowhere to be seen.
“There’s very little new here for older Ontarians,” says Laura Tamblyn Watts, CEO of CanAge. “The new Ontario budget includes some previously announced investments mixed in with a few new additions which don’t add up to much for seniors–especially with new census data showing that 1:5 people are over 65 already. It’s baffling to see so little focus on transforming the seniors’ care system which is under desperate need of investment.”
The Ontario 2022 budget follows on the heels of the 2021 census released yesterday, showing that seniors aged 85 and older are now one of the fastest-growing demographics in Canada, having increased 12% since 2016 to a population of over 861,000 nationally. There are over 2,637,710 people over 65 in Ontario alone.
“The data shows that seniors are the fastest growing demographic in Canada,” notes Tamblyn Watts. “That means older peoples’ needs should be a top priority for the Government of Ontario. Unfortunately, that’s not evident in this budget.”
Announcements for seniors in the Ontario budget include:
- $1.5 B for home care
- A new Ontario Seniors Care at Home Tax Credit to, which is income tested but refundable, to hire additional trained health care providers to augment care (25% of up to $6,000, or up to $1500 /year)
- Reduction of income taxes for people who make up to $50 K /year, which will help some seniors living on a fixed income
- Continuing the Home and Vehicle Modification Tax Credit (not new in this budget)
- $60 M over 2 years to expand Community Paramedicine for Long-term Care for eligible seniors
- An additional $5 M a year for three years for dementia services
CanAge made a pre-budget submission to the Government of Ontario in February of this year, requesting key investments for older Ontarians, including:
- Seniors’ Care
- Create a provincial integrated health and human resources aged-care staffing strategy across home care and LTC. Provide incentives to enter the aged-care sector including educational grants and paid training.
- Dementia Supports
- Ensure home care is the primary type of seniors’ care, and includes specific supports for cancer, dementia and rehab / physio to be provided at home.
- Elder Abuse Prevention
- Significantly increase funding for Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario (EAPO), which has not received a funding raise since 2008, to equal levels of domestic violence and intimate partner violence funding.
These recommendations come from CanAge’s evidence-based policy book, ‘VOICES: A Roadmap to an Age-Inclusive Canada’.