Financial incentives should also be made available to employers to provide flexible work environments and supportive programs.
The federal government should extend at least the same workplace protection to caregivers that it has extended to new parents. For example, caregivers should be able to take up to a year’s leave to fulfill caregiving obligations. Terminating an employee because they have taken caregiving leave should be prohibited. The employee’s service should be considered continuous during caregiving leave and upon return, she/he should be reinstated in the position occupied by her/him on the date her/his leave started.
Integration with The Formal Health System There should be developed a comprehensive system of integration of the formal health care and social services system and the informal family caregiving sector that includes equitable access to appropriate respite care.
PRIORITIES FOR THE 2008 FEDERAL ELECTION
1. Aging At Home – recognize it – the five million Canadians who care for loved ones at home need help: a. Financial support -through a refundable tax credit or allowance, better Employment Insurance coverage and improved pension plan provisions. b. Make sure their jobs are still there when they get back to work. c. The formal health care system needs to recognize and facilitate the role of caregivers.
2. Retirement Security – plan for it – Canadians do not want to outlive their money – introduce a universal supplementary pension plan for the almost one in three Canadians who have no retirement savings or access to private pensions and substantially increase the annual adjustments to OAS, CPP, and GIS for fixed and low income Canadians.
3. Mandatory Retirement is unfair – eliminate it – in uncertain times, Canada needs the skills and experience of every worker who can contribute to our social and economic well-being – and frankly, telling someone that they must stop working at age 65 is the definition of age discrimination.
4. Health Care – deal with it – move on the Accord on Health Care Renewal by demanding wait-times guarantees from the provinces in exchange for federal health dollars, setting national standards and introducing a national pharmacare program.
5. Older Workers have much to offer in the work force – act on it – implement the recommendations of the December, 2007 Expert Panel on Older Workers, which called for a comprehensive strategy that included training, anti-ageism in the workplace and phased retirement.