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Quebec budget signals renewed commitment to seniors care, but continues to neglect vaccination

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The Government of Quebec has released its 2022-23 budget, announcing several key investments for seniors in areas including care and financial support. While a commitment to building affordable housing was included, the allocated $100 million falls far short of what is needed to put a roof over the heads of all older residents currently facing housing insecurity.

“The Quebec budget demonstrates recognition that seniors’ care is in crisis, with targeted investments across the care continuum,” says Laura Tamblyn Watts, CEO of CanAge. “It’s heartening to see much-needed dollars going towards home care and long-term care. However, given how poorly the province does on vaccinating seniors against preventable diseases like the flu, shingles, and pneumonia, it’s a huge miss that more dollars aren’t being committed to improve uptake and keeping seniors healthy who are living at home in their communities.”

“We agree with Reseau FADOC’s comments and are also concerned with the rollback of funding and protection for vulnerable seniors in the Province. A baffling move considering the clear need to increase support in this area. Also missing was a significant commitment to increasing seniors sector capacity in Health and Social Services.” 

In a recent report on adult vaccination in Canada, CanAge assigned Quebec a grade of D-, putting it in the bottom three jurisdictions across the country due to sub par vaccine funding, access and public education efforts that is far below the national standard. Quebec has the worst vaccine funding in Canada and is the only jurisdiction to not publicly fund even the standard dose flu shot for adults 18+, at a time when many other parts of the country are already funding the shot specifically-formulated for seniors.

Highlights for older adults from the budget include

  1. More money for both home care and long-term care.
  2. Doubling of the maximum rent for the home care tax credit from $600 to $1,200.
  3. For home care hiring costs the tax credit will rise from 35 to 40%.
  4. $1.5 billion to open new seniors homes & alternative kinds of residential care. 
  5. Additional $129 million to bring private seniors services and CHLSDs more in line with the public system’s standard of care.
  6. A promised 6.3% increase to health care spending.
  7. $500 per person for people making less than $100K a year. This will help offset rising consumer costs.
  8. More money for pandemic & future disasters such as floods and a small increase for the vaccine budget.
  9. $12.2 million by 2026-27 for optimal medications in CHLSD
  10. $100 million to build 1,000 affordable housing units over 5 years–an amount that is inadequate to meet the need.

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