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What do the BC Election Results Mean for CARP members?

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Like the rest of BC residents, CARP members will need to wait a while longer to find out who actually won the BC election.  After the first count, and without the inclusion of absentee ballots, we have Christie Clark’s Liberals with the most seats: 43. But that’s still one short of the 44 need to form a majority government.

At first count, the NDP have 41 seats, including one where the winner squeaked just 9 more votes than the Liberal runner up.

There were three ridings with less than 200 votes between first and second; any of these could change hands when votes are recounted and absentee ballots are added in (absentee ballot counting starts on May 22).  We won’t have an officially declared winner of the election until, at the earliest, May 22.

But here’s a few thoughts about how the different scenarios will impact our members and older Canadians in B.C.

If the Liberals eke out a majority, we will hold them to account for the commitments they made in their platform and specifically to CARP. These included:

  • A $225 million healthcare investment to reduce wait times for elective surgeries (like hip and knee replacements) over the next three years;
  • A $275 million investment in homecare over four years;
  • A respite tax credit of up to $2500 for caregivers and a home renovation tax credit of $20,000
  • A $2 million investment in age-friendly cities (through the Union of BC Municipalities)
  • Grants of $1 million to build activities areas for those suffering from dementia.

If the Liberals fail to win a majority but are supported by the Green Party, we’ll look to the Green’s to uphold key promises made to our members which include:

  • $100 million for the expansion of inter-professional, integrated primary care to be provided by physiotherapists, nurse practitioners, midwives, dietitians and other health professionals;
  • An essential drugs program in 2019 to reduce the cost of prescription drugs;
  • A $15 million investment to combat fraud, and
  • A commitment to explore measures to better protect investors.

If the recounts do not result in a Liberal majority, and if the Greens support the NDP rather than the Liberals, then John Horgan will have the opportunity to form an NDP government.  In that case we’ll hold their feet to the fire to see that these promises are kept:

  • A new Urgent Care model for healthcare delivery including building urgent care centres and staffing them with multi-disciplinary teams;
  • Expansion of the hours and scope of home care;
  • Creation of an all-party Select Standing Committee on Seniors to advocate directly to the legislature;
  • Increases of all income assistance and disability rates by $100 a month, and
  • Consultation on a best interest standard to better protect investors.

CARP is a non-partisan organization, we will work with all elected representatives to improve the lives of seniors in BC.


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Pre-Election: Candidates Respond to CARP Priorities

CARP asked BC Candidates, “If elected, how will you improve the lives of BC residents as we age?”

Here are the responses we received from the provincial NDP and Liberal parties, Green candidate Yvonne Prest and Libertarian candidate Alex Joehl. Some of the highlights of these are:

Reducing Patient Wait Times

NDP

John Horgan and the BC NDP will take action to make our healthcare system work for you. We will make improving your access to family doctors and other medical professionals the top priority for our Ministry of Health. We’ll develop a new Urgent Care model that gets emergency room visitors the healthcare support they need faster, and we’ll help rural British Columbians with an improved medical travel allowance.

Our strategic investments in health care include expanding the hours and scope of home care so seniors can continue to live at home and out of residential care. The Urgent Care centres will deliver patient care through multidisciplinary teams comprised of doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, dieticians, occupational and physical therapists, mental health and addictions treatment professionals, and other health professionals. These investments will improve health outcomes and provide some relief to unpaid caregivers.

We will expand and replicate initiatives and best practices that have a track record of reducing surgical wait times — i.e. the Richmond Hip and Knee reconstruction project. We will also deliver the best outcomes and most timely care for patients through province-wide coordination, management of wait lists.

Greens

The B.C. Greens believe that government has one job that is more important than anything else: promoting the health and well-being of the people it serves. The B.C. Green Party recognizes that it is absolutely essential to reduce surgical wait times in B.C., and has several strategies to achieve this goal.

A B.C. Green government will establish an Innovation Task force to promote the application of best practices to reduce surgery wait times across the province. For many years, chronic shortages in hospital beds have resulted in the cancellation of elective surgeries, creating a backlog of patients which increases wait times. To solve this problem, a B.C. Green government will provide more residential care beds and better home health care to seniors. This will free up hospital beds currently occupied by seniors due to the lack of community alternatives. On top of this, we will invest $40 million in new long term care facilities, which will increase the number of beds in acute care facilities. An increase in the number of beds in acute care facilities means that they have the capacity to hold more patients recovering from surgery at once, helping to reduce wait times.

Centralizing the management of waitlists and the referral of patients to the first available surgeon, and modernizing and integrating the information systems to support waitlist management strategies, will also help to expedite surgical wait times. A B.C. Green Government will also prioritize provision of primary care. We will allocate $100 million for the expansion of support for interprofessional, integrated primary care to be provided by physiotherapists, nurse practitioners, midwives, dieticians and other health professionals. This will reduce the need for people to see a general practitioner and potentially avert the need for surgery. Effective interprofessional teamwork is an essential component for the delivery of high-quality care in an increasingly complex health-care system. This initiative to enhance and support interprofessional health care will enable patients to benefit from the full scope of knowledge and expertise of qualified health practitioners, reduce the burden on medical practitioners, and reduce wait times for treatment. The goal is to optimise the system to ensure that early intervention at the right level avoids more costly treatment at a later stage, thus reducing the need for more invasive treatment. The B.C. Greens will work with all stakeholders to make this happen, including doctors, nurses and hospital workers, health authorities and other health-care professionals.

Liberals

BC has one of the best health care systems, and some of the best health outcomes, anywhere in the world. There is always room for improvement.  And with a growing, active, and aging population, there is a increasing demand for surgeries.

The number of surgeries in BC has increased 40% over the last 14 years. Today’s BC Liberals will invest $225 million over the next three years to reduce surgical wait times for elective surgeries – with no impact on emergency surgeries.  That means 5,500 more hip and knee replacement surgeries over the

next two years.  This additional funding will help reduce the backlog of surgeries and keep up with demand as the Ministry of Health implements a long-term strategy for more timely and appropriate access to surgery.  In addition, hospitals in Surrey, Maple Ridge, Vernon, and Nanaimo will be receiving new MRI machines to speed up diagnosis and treatment for patients.

The previous NDP government’s health care record is clear: not a single new hospital was built on their watch, medical and nursing spaces didn’t keep up with demand, and budget deficits meant health care was short changed.  You can’t invest in healthcare without a strong economy –and the NDP’s weak leadership and irresponsible policies would increase taxes, put British Columbians out of work, and scare away investment.  On May 9th, our strong and steadily improving health care will be on the line – and voting NDP would put it all at risk.

Libertarian

We already have a two-tiered health care system in the province, and the B.C. Libertarian Party would foster the growth of the private sector, allowing more options, and even alternatives to MSP. In doing so, the services offered would increased, service levels would improve, and costs would decrease.

Investing in home care for aging population

NDP

 John Horgan and the BC NDP will make seniors a priority. We will help them stay in their own homes longer, improve the consistency of care in care homes and create a legislative committee focused on improving the care and lives of seniors.

Giving support to seniors to stay at home as long as possible is the right thing to do. We will increase the length of home support visits and expand the scope of services provided – helping seniors stay in their homes longer, reducing stress on family friends and other unpaid caregivers.

Seniors who do move into residential care can expect increased support and more accountability from providers and their staff, so they receive the high-quality, dignified relationship-based care they deserve. We will conduct a review to establish and maintain safe staffing levels that aren’t disrupted by contracting out or contract flipping.

Greens

As the number of seniors in B.C. rises, so the pressures on the health care and long-term care systems increase. We recognize that many seniors want to stay in their homes and communities. It also makes financial sense for the Government to support seniors to stay in their homes for as long as possible. A B.C. Green Government will invest $35 million over four years in home care to enable seniors and other people who need assistance to stay in their own homes.

A B.C. Green government will also work with health authorities to identify and remove barriers to the implementation of integrated healthcare delivery between acute and post-acute service providers. The shift from inpatient to ambulatory and community care has been shown to decrease health-care costs and better address the range of health care needs of the population.

Liberals

Seniors built this province.  They have been there for us, and now we need to be there for them. BC has a growing, aging, and active population and we need to invest in making sure our healthcare system takes care of seniors with the dignity and respect they deserve, no matter how complex their needs. We have increased the number of clients receiving home health services 36% between 2001 and 2016 but we know we can do more.  Over the next four years, Today’s BC Liberals are committed to a $500 million funding boost to improve care for seniors across the system.

Included in this is $275 million over the next four years for home and community care services as part of the recent health funding agreement with the federal government.  In addition, health authorities will keep increasing their budgets for home and community care – reaching approximately $200 million above current levels by 2020-21.  To further improve the quality of care, Today’s BC Liberals are committed to hiring about 1,500 additional staff including health-care assistants, nurses, occupational therapists, and physiotherapists.

We are also providing $90 million over the next three years to help create new teams of primary care providers in communities throughout BC, starting in those with the greatest need for enhanced primary care services. This team-based primary care model will particularly benefit seniors and those with complex health needs – helping to keep them healthier, more independent, and out of hospital.  We’re able to make this investment because of the strong economy British Columbians have built, and a solid plan that invests in the services people count on

We are also committed to increasing funding for an additional 500 nurses per year across the province by 2022. We will also train and place an additional 100 nurse practitioners across British Columbia and create more spaces for in-demand professions, such as physiotherapists and speech therapists. Finally, we will identify retention programs to ensure these health care providers remain in rural and northern communities.

To ensure seniors can live healthy, active lives within their communities, Today’s BC Liberals will:

  • Invest $1 million in grants to communities across British Columbia to build activity areas that are appropriate for seniors suffering from dementia.
  • Provide an additional $2 million to the Union of BC Municipalities to fund our age-friendly communities program and expand access for seniors across our province.
  • Introduce an Active Seniors Credit to support and promote seniors leading active healthy lifestyles.

We have also provided $31 million in funding to enhance the Better at Home program in more than 100 communities, helping seniors stay in their homes longer. To ensure individuals seniors can continue to live in their homes, Today’s BC Liberals will double the Home Renovation Tax Credit to $20,000 for improvements to accommodate family members with disabilities. We will introduce a Respite Tax Credit of up to $2,500 for people caring for seniors or family members with disabilities. And we commit to dedicating all funds provided by the federal government in the recent BC-Canada health agreement to incremental home care and mental health supports.

Libertarian

By simplifying the tax system, we would see savings on many fronts, both with take home pay of earners, and also a relative increase in charity support. Local charitable organizations are the backbone of any community, and they serve Langley well already, and can only get better… with the addition of alternative health insurance providers, the demand for post-retirement care would likely be offered. 

Reducing poverty among seniors in BC

NDP
We’ll develop an all-party Select Standing Committee on Seniors. This committee will be tasked with refreshing the Council on Aging and Seniors’ 2006 Report, making recommendations to the Legislature and monitoring and reporting on the implementation of those recommendations.

We will also be convening an expert working group comprised of disability and seniors’ advocates, individuals, poverty reduction groups and others to develop a poverty reduction strategy. This working group will be mandated to examine the full scope of poverty reduction initiatives.

John Horgan’s BC NDP will also help by reducing the depth of poverty in BC by immediately raising all income assistance and disability rates by $100 per month, and ending Christy Clark’s disability bus pass clawback, fully restoring the BC Bus Pass program for people with disabilities.

If elected, a John Horgan BC NDP government looks forward to meeting with CARP and other stakeholders like the Canadian Centre for Elder Law regarding measures to protect seniors from financial abuse.

Greens

The B.C. Greens are committed to reducing poverty in B.C. for all of our citizens. We support a shift towards livable incomes, and believe that all British Columbians should have the means to live a healthy life. Nobody should be living beneath the poverty line in a province as wealthy as ours.

We will implement a poverty reduction strategy, in consultation with experts and advocacy groups. A B.C. Green government will also draw on experience in other jurisdictions to design a basic income pilot project that will test its ability to reduce poverty, and improve health, housing and employment outcomes. Seniors are one group that we believe could particularly benefit from basic income. Though there are a number of assistance programs available for seniors, the application process can be complex, and many seniors are unsure of what supports they are eligible for. A streamlined basic income program would ensure that seniors do not fall through the cracks in our social safety net.

A B.C. Green Government will roll Medical Service Plan (MSP) premiums into the payroll tax and personal income tax to ensure that they are administered in a more equitable and progressive manner. B.C. is the only province in Canada to charge regressive MSP premiums. Such premiums unfairly burden low and fixed income British Columbians with a heavy flat tax.

A B.C. Green Government will also address the high cost of prescription drugs. We will develop a proposal to implement an essential drugs program beginning in 2019, designed to reduce the costs of prescription drugs and ensure the cost of drugs is not a barrier to health management.

A B.C. Green government will also take aggressive action to resolve the housing affordability crisis, which has hurt many lower income seniors, who are facing higher rents or being priced out of neighbourhoods they have spent much of their lives in. We will introduce a comprehensive housing strategy that recognizes that the primary purpose of housing must be to provide homes first, and a means of investment second. We will invest in increasing supply, investing up to $750 million per year to support the construction of approximately 4,000 new units of affordable housing per year. We will also crack down on speculation, which is driving up the price of real estate, through increasing the foreign buyers tax to 30% and expanding it across B.C., as well as introducing speculation taxes to discourage the flipping of homes.

Liberals

Today’s BC Liberal plan starts with a strong, diverse, growing economy that gives British Columbians the opportunity to look after the people we love – and provides government with the resources to support our most vulnerable citizens.

Our government provides support to nearly 52,800 seniors’ households through a range of housing options, including:

  • Independent social housing units for close to 21,300 low-income seniors;
  • Supportive and assisted living units for approximately 11,500 frail seniors; and
  • Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) provides monthly rent assistance to about 20,000 low-income seniors’ households.

And we’ve made the single largest investment in Canadian history by committing $920 million in the last year to create about 5,300 units of affordable rental housing across British Columbia – about 30 projects representing 1,350 units and about $125 million will be dedicated to seniors.

To make life more affordable for all British Columbians, we are cutting MSP premiums in half for families and individuals with family net income of up to $120,000 per year – saving families up to $900 a year. This will be effective next January. And we will not raise your taxes elsewhere to pay for eliminating MSP, as the NDP are proposing. We are committed to eliminating MSP premiums entirely over the long term.

Today’s BC Liberals are able to make these investments in people because we’ve been focused on creating jobs, growing a diverse economy, and controlling government spending in order to leave more money in British Columbians’ pockets

Libertarian

Affordable housing is a major problem in the Lower Mainland, and the issue is a supply of housing. Meanwhile, the Agricultural Land Reserve is eating up way too much of Langley’s potential residential areas and no longer serves its purpose. By opening up the ALR to residential development, we’d see the price of housing come in line with what low-income residents can afford and many people would be back within a home again, with enough resources to come above the poverty line.

Support for Caregivers

NDP

Giving support to seniors to stay at home as long as possible is the right thing to do. We will increase the length of home support visits and expand the scope of services provided – helping seniors stay in their homes longer, reducing stress on family friends and other unpaid caregivers.

Greens

We recognize that unpaid caregivers do absolutely essential work, and are taking on an increasing burden for providing care due to shortcomings in our healthcare system. By strengthening our healthcare system and addressing some of these shortcomings, through investing in prevention, acute care needs, and reducing wait times, as well as investing in home care specifically, we can help alleviate their burden. Our investments in home care will help to alleviate the burden of unpaid caregivers in BC and enable seniors to live in their own homes for longer. A B.C. Green Government will invest $35 million over four years in home care to enable seniors and other people who need assistance to stay in their own homes.

A B.C. Green government will work with health authorities to identify and remove barriers to the implementation of integrated healthcare delivery between acute and post-acute service providers. The shift from inpatient to ambulatory and community care has been shown to

decrease health-care costs and better address the range of health care needs of the population. More effective post-acute and community care would help to take some of the burden from unpaid caregivers. A B.C. Green government will also explore further ways to support unpaid

caregivers. We will pilot basic income, which we believe is one measure that could help support unpaid caregivers, who are doing work that is essential to their families and communities, but are not being remunerated.

Liberals

We know that having mom and dad living in either their home, or with other family members, can put added strain on family finances if renovations are required or additional care is needed.  To help these families, Today’s BC Liberals have committed to providing a Respite Tax Credit of up to $2,500 for people caring for seniors or family members with disabilities. We will also double the Home Renovation Tax Credit to $20,000 to make home improvements to accommodate seniors or family members with disabilities.

Improving Investor Protection

NDP

The NDP are committed to consulting on a best interest standard that puts the interests of investors before those of financial advisors (currently, very few financial advisors are subject to this standard) and to consulting on measures to protect seniors from financial abuse.

Greens

White collar crime has long gone under-punished in B.C. Unscrupulous financial advisers have stolen millions of dollars from unwitting clients, often senior citizens. Perhaps one of the more troubling developments in recent years has been the number of scams perpetrated through the internet and over the phone. Non-violent crimes affect British Columbians’ sense of safety and their financial security, and overwhelmingly affect seniors. We need to take a much stronger stance on white collar crime and fraud – it is costing many of our citizens far too much.

In response, a B.C. Green government will spend $15 million to improve and expand the tracking of business fraud to include electronic and telephone scams, enhance the understanding of how to prevent financial crimes, and pursue perpetrators when crimes are committed. We will collaborate with the federal government, relevant agencies, and other provinces to track fraud and address securities related offences. We will also introduce a “whistleblower program” to help inform authorities of fraud, and introduce harsher penalties for companies who turn a blind eye to financial crimes.

We will also explore other measures to better protect investors, which may include supporting a best interest standard for investors, supporting a ban on embedded commissions, and regulating the titles used by financial advisors.

Liberals

We recognize there are concerns about the current regulatory structure around professional financial advisors, planners and investor services. A key request from stakeholders that have approached our government is that they want to ensure provinces have consistent rules so we don’t have a patchwork of different regulatory approaches across the country.

With this in mind, the BC Securities Commission is participating in the government of Canada’s Canadian Securities Administrators consultations on how to best address this and other requests raised by investor advocacy groups. As such, Today’s BC Liberals will wait for the federal consultation to finish and then consider the results to determine the best path forward.

Libertarian

While I appreciate advocacy groups educating members on safe and unsafe investment practices, I do not feel the B.C. Libertarian Party would have any interest in regulating business further.

How else will you improve the lives of seniors in BC?

Greens

The B.C. Greens believe that the highest form of government is promoting the health and well-being of the people it serves. A B.C. Green government would focus on prevention, health and wellbeing to ensure people live healthier lives for longer. The answers above detail our commitments to reduce wait times, invest in chronic care and post-acute care, eliminate MSP premiums, invest in home care to enable seniors to stay in their homes, plan to implement a prescription drugs program, and invest in integrated care.

We will also make investments in public transit essential to accessible communities, allowing seniors to participate more fully in their communities and making people less dependent on private vehicles. These investments will help ensure that when people are no longer able to drive, they aren’t isolated and unable to participate in the lives of their communities.

A B.C. Green government will establish a task force to develop a plan to transition the balance of resources between acute care and preventative care. The task force will review the funding and range of services covered by the healthcare system to ensure the mix of services better meets the treatment and prevention needs of the population.

A B.C. Green Government will also act to ensure the staffing of public and private care homes meets government guidelines, and will provide an additional $200 million over four years to address staffing levels in public facilities. A B.C. Green Government will collaborate with Health

Authorities and the BC Care Providers Association to ensure that clear, measurable and enforceable staffing standards for residential care facilities are implemented.

Liberals

Today’s BC Liberals are committed to introducing an Active Seniors Tax Credit to support and promote seniors leading active healthy lifestyles.  We will also increase funding to BC Transit and Handy-Dart services in communities across BC to provide more frequent service for seniors.

Additionally, we will provide $1 million in grants to communities across British Columbia to build activity areas that are appropriate for seniors suffering from dementia.

Building upon the previous investments made, we will provide $2 million to the Union of BC Municipalities to fund our age-friendly communities program and expand access for seniors across our province.

Libertarian

Older Canadians are not any more special than any other Canadians. We are all equal. The difference is that as we age our ability to sell our labour decreases and therefore need to be dependent on our life-savings, government and/or private pensions, and support from family and charities. The B.C. Libertarian Party would enact many policies that would make the lives of all British Columbians better, more fruitful, and by extension, a better place to retire. 

Find out more about CARP’s Election 2017 Priorities for BC

Surgical wait times are hurting patients, home care is underfunded, caregivers are cracking under the burden of care and your life-savings are threatened by lax investor protection laws.

CARP is putting pressure on the Provincial and Federal Governments to act on these pressing issues for BC residents.

With just four weeks until election day on May 9th, candidates need to hear from you. We know that almost all CARP members vote, so our power to effect change is strongest at the ballot box.

If you’ve received your Zoomer Magazine, chances are you received a ‘Dear Candidate’ election primer from CARP. You told us which issues matter to you most. We’ve prepared this primer to help you call for action with one loud, clear and united voice.

Together, we can influence election platforms and outcome.

Whether you hang this on your front door, or take it to local town halls or candidates’ meetings, raising these issues will let your candidates know how to secure your vote.

Let candidates knocking on your door know what’s important this election! Display your door hanger with pride and share it electronically on Facebook.

Want to do more? Email us at [email protected] to request door hangers (in multiples of 50) to distribute to family, friends and neighbours in your community.

If you are personally affected by these issues, please email [email protected] to share your story with CARP. Your stories make politicians listen.
Tell a friend – Power in Numbers

Tell friends to click here to sign up for advocacy updates through CARP’s Action Online Newsletter.

Your Support Makes Change Possible – Please Donate

For answers to all your questions on how to cast your vote, visit the Elections BC website http://elections.bc.ca/2017-general-election/

Advance in-person voting: April 29-30, May 3-6.

CARP currently has 8 volunteer-led Chapters in British Columbia, holding politicians feet to the fire and hosting regular meetings on issues that are of importance to Canadians as we age.

  • White Rock – Surrey
  • North Fraser
  • South Fraser
  • Richmond-Delta
  • Vancouver
  • North Shore
  • Kootenays
  • Victoria (recruiting volunteers)
  • Okanagan Valley (recruiting volunteers)

Click this link to connect with a Chapter in your area http://www.carp.ca/about#chapters

If you’d like to help CARP make a difference in this election, please contact our Volunteer Manager,  Ana Hall at [email protected]

Wanda Morris Head Shot

CARP Announces Western Canadian Offices

We need to make our voices heard and to ensure that happens, CARP is sending Wanda Morris, our VP of Advocacy to BC to open our Western Canadian office in Surrey, BC.

With staff on the ground and local headquarters we will increase our reach and our voice.

For immediate release: Thursday, April 6, 2017

 CARP President Moses Znaimer Announces Wanda Morris

To Head Up New Western Canadian CARP Office

 

Moses Znaimer, President of CARP, has announced that Canada’s largest Advocacy Association for Canadians As We Age will be expanding its footprint by opening a new Western Canadian CARP Office in Surrey, BC, effective May 1, 2017.

CARP is currently headquartered in Toronto’s Liberty Village at The ZoomerPlex, a 2.6-acre state-of-the-art multi-media, production and live event complex that is also home to ZoomerMedia Limited.

CARP’s VP of Advocacy, Wanda Morris, will head up the Western office. In addition to continuing in her National Advocacy role, Wanda will also take on the challenge of growing membership and strengthening CARP’s western presence by better focusing advocacy on issues of importance to BC and Alberta members.

“We’ve had some great successes nationally, and in Ontario, in advocating for improved healthcare, retirement security and against ageism. In sending our top advocate west, we look forward to achieving an equally great impact in BC and Alberta,” said Moses.

Since February of 2016, Wanda has been a key influencer and go-to commentator in national discussions on issues of importance to all Canadians.  During her tenure at the National Office, CARP has scored or been instrumental in several victories including a historic pan-Canadian agreement to expand CPP, Federal commitments for increased Homecare to the tune of $6 billion over 10 years, increased support of $1,000 a year for Canada’s poorest seniors, and reductions in energy and pharmaceutical prices for seniors in Ontario.

In order to take better advantage of the synergies between CARP and ZoomerMedia, and to ensure the smooth functioning of CARP operations, Laas Turnbull will take on the role of COO of CARP; this, in addition to his current responsibilities as Chief Audience Officer of ZoomerMedia.

 

 

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