The North Bay CARP Chapter sent out 5 questions to local NPD, PC and Liberal candidates in the Nipissing riding for the Ontario Provincial Election, asking for their reply on issues important to CARP members.
Here are the questions posed by the North Bay Chapter:
- Will you vote to fully fund a comprehensive home care strategy to allow everyone to stay in their own homes as long as possible? This includes funding and training more home care workers, substantive financial support for full time family caregivers, workplace protection and professional support from the health care system.
- What will you do to increase affordable access to long term care ?
- Will you support a concerted effort to reduce the cost of prescription drugs including bulk purchasing, resisting attempts to extend patent protection and ensuring public coverage of drugs is transparent and cost effective. Will you support a national pharmacare policy to provide basic drug coverage for all Canadians?
- will you support increasing the income supplement [GAINS] for low income seniors, and extending support especially to those aged 60-64, mostly single, who do not receive the spousal allowance ?
- what will you do to reduce or mitigate the escalating cost of living, such as HST on home heating, property taxes and electricity costs, for lower, fixed income Ontarians, especially seniors.
The NDP candidate, Herni Giroux and Liberal candidate, Catherine Whiting, replied below.
Will you vote to fully fund a comprehensive home care strategy to allow everyone to stay in their own homes as long as possible? This includes funding and training more home care workers, substantive financial support for full-time family caregivers, workplace protection and professional support from the health care system.
Yes. We the NDP will guarantee high-quality, accessible, home-care –the back-bone of Ontario’s health care system – by eliminating the wait list for home care services. We will end for-profit competitive bidding in home care and invest public dollars in actual home care services. We will provide the support that informal caregivers to care for their loved ones at home. Our bottom line is we must ensure Ontarians are able to receive consistent quality home care in every community in the province.
What will you do to increase affordable access to long term care?
Currently Ontario has 77,000 long term care beds and 25,700 seniors are waiting for admission. Since 2005, wait times for long-term care beds have tripled. We will eliminate the waiting list for long-term care for those with complex medical needs. We will support min. standards of care so that the health and well-being of seniors are protected. We will ensure our loved ones receive the right care in the right setting. We will guarantee that precious long-term care dollars go towards front line services. Our bottom line is we must build a truly accessible long-term care system that meets the needs of Ontario’s seniors.
Will you support a concerted effort to reduce the cost of prescription drugs including: bulk purchasing; resisting attempts to expand patent protection; and ensuring public coverage of drugs is transparent and cost effective?
Will you support increasing the income supplement (GAINS) for low income seniors, and extending the support especially to those aged 60-64, mostly single, who do not receive the spousal allowance?
Currently the maximum CPP benefit is only $11,000 a year; an amount that is not enough to live on. The NDP will implement a public, cost-efficient, defined pension plan for all Ontarians without workplace plans. We will support public options such as an expansion of the CPP. Ensure that all existing pensions are fully protected by the Ontario government. Our bottom line is that we must ensure that all Ontarians have decent retirement income with secure pensions.
What will you do to reduce or mitigate the escalating cost of living, such as: HST on home heating; property taxes; and electricity costs for lower fixed income Ontarians, especially seniors?
The NDP’s plan is to make life more affordable for everyday Ontarians. This includes taking HST off of hydro, and gasoline, freezing transit fares, more efficient management of the electricity. We will take the HST off of hydro and home heating to make life more affordable. We will start taking the HST off of gasoline. This will save each Ontarian about $130 and save a family with two kids about $375 every year by taking the HST off essentials. We will focus on providing clean, efficient and affordable public power. Our bottom line is to eliminate the HST from hydro, gas and home heating bills and let Ontarians decide what to do with their own money.
Phone: 705 495 3414
Email: [email protected]
Liberal Party of Ontario
1. I am proud that over the past 8 years the Ontario Liberal government has worked hard to improve the quality of our health services. Ontario has gone from having the longest surgical wait times in the country to the shortest. The last PC government fired nurses – the backbone of our health care system. We hired nurses – 11,500 of them – and created 25 nurse practitioner clinics as part of our plan to improve primary care. We also have 2,900 more doctors. Now, over 97 per cent of Ontario seniors have a family doctor.
The 2011 Liberal platform “Forward.Together.” is the next part of our plan to ensure Ontario becomes the best place in Canada for seniors. We will provide better community support and home care. We’ll work to keep seniors out of emergency rooms and hospital beds by keeping them healthy, in their homes and with their loved ones. To do that, we are redesigning Ontario’s primary care and homecare systems. Not only will this be better for seniors, it will make the health care system stronger for all of us. Because caring for people at home is more than just a compassionate alternative, it’s a cost-effective way of delivering care. We’ll start by bringing back a good idea whose time has come again: house calls. That means if someone is unable to leave their home to see the doctor, the doctor will come to them. House calls could also be made by a nurse or occupational therapist to provide the care and treatment patients need, where they are most comfortable. In addition, seniors who are at risk of injury or illness will have improved access to Personal Support Workers to provide them with the care they need at home. Our investments will provide up to three million hours of additional care for those in need. The health care system can be intimidating, and complicated. That’s why we’ll also provide Health Care Coordinators to help guide patients through the health care system. They will connect care between specialists and family doctors, hospitals and the community to help seniors who’ve been hospitalized within the previous 12 months.
Of course, the best support is the care we get from our loved ones. That’s why we’ll create a new Family Caregiver Leave. It will give working Ontarians up to eight weeks of job-protected time away from work to help a family member who can’t care for themselves because of serious injury or illness. We’ll also press the federal government to extend Employment Insurance protection to those who are making this difficult but rewarding commitment to their families, just as they have with Family Medical Leave.
2. Sometimes renovations such as a new ramp to replace the front steps, a chair lift to the second floor or a walk-in shower to prevent falls are all that is needed to make home life safe for seniors. Our plan will help make these kinds of improvements more affordable. We’ll create a Healthy Home renovation tax credit worth up to $1,500 annually to go towards these changes. To make home life even more affordable, we’ll work with Ontario’s municipalities to give seniors the option to defer property tax increases for as long as they choose to stay in their home. Any increase in property tax would be deferred, interest-free, until the house is sold. We’ll also create an Active Aging Strategy to help make Ontario the best place to age and develop public policies that reflect the needs of the aging population in Ontario.
3. The Ontario Liberals have shown true leadership by introducing drug reforms that cut the prices paid for generic drugs by 50%. We are using the savings to add 176 new drugs to public drug plan. We also eliminated rebates that inflate the cost of drugs to Ontarians and pad the profits of big chain drug stores. Our businesses saved money too and were able to invest their savings in creating new jobs that are helping our economy turn the corner. Because of the action we took, Ontarians – particularly seniors – have better pharmacy services and easier access to medication. We’re auditing pharmacies and will take action if any pharmacy fails to follow the new rules.
4. This question is one related to poverty, particularly seniors living in poverty. As a member of the Poverty Reduction Workgroup of North Bay and Area, I have developed an extensive background in dealing with poverty. I am proud of the work that our Liberal government has done in the area of poverty over the past eight years, but there is more work to be done. I recognize the needs of our seniors, especially those single and married seniors on fixed incomes who struggle with the daily challenges of staying in their homes. I am proud that Ontario has the lowest rate of income tax in the country for those with incomes under $30,000 – a rate that means a large number of our seniors will pay no income taxes at all. I recognize the needs of our seniors and together with you; I will be there to address these needs as your MPP. I believe it is morally reprehensible to have any of our seniors living in poverty.
5. Since 2003, we’ve worked to make home ownership more affordable for seniors. We introduced a Senior Homeowner’s Property Tax Grant of up to $500 per year. We also introduced pension income splitting for seniors. As part of our Tax Plan for Jobs and Growth, we introduced a Clean Energy Benefit that takes 10 per cent off electricity bills, a Sales Tax Credit worth up to $260 per person, an Energy and Property Tax Credit offering seniors up to $1,025 per year, a Sales Tax Transition Benefit of up to $300 for individuals and $1,000 for families, and lower income taxes for 93 per cent of Ontario taxpayers. Overall, after factoring in the impact of the HST, 86 per cent of senior households will have more money in their pockets as a result of our Tax Plan. We also took action to protect pensions and strengthen our retirement income system. We passed two major pieces of pension-reform legislation – the most significant reforms to Ontario’s pension system in over two decades – following years of neglect by the PCs and NDP. And we put the Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund on a more stable footing, helping many hurt by the recession. We showed leadership on the future of Canada’s retirement income system, fighting for a modest improvement to the Canada Pension Plan and more affordable, accessible ways for Ontarians to save. We also ended the discriminatory policies prohibiting older Ontarians from working by legislating an end to mandatory retirement.
Whiting Campaign Team