Election 2021: Trudeau promises $9 billion for long-term care

The Liberal leader’s promise, made during a campaign stop in Victoria, includes a pay raise for those who work in seniors care homes

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Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau used a seniors’ care home in Victoria as the backdrop to announce that if elected his government would spend $9 billion on long-term care, including a pay raise for those who work in seniors care homes.

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“We have seen unacceptable and heartbreaking conditions in long-term care homes in Canada during this (COVID-19) pandemic,” said Trudeau. “We believe conditions of work become conditions of care for our seniors.”

Trudeau said that’s why his party will increase the minimum wage to $25 an hour for personal service workers in care homes.

And, he said, he will work with the provinces “to continue to address the shortfalls in Canada’s long-term care sector.”

Trudeau said the money would be spent to create more beds, increase infection prevention and to double the tax break given to seniors who live at home. The existing federal home accessibility tax credit would increase to a maximum of $20,000. It can be used to offset the costs for a range of devices, from installing wheelchair ramps and lifts to bathtub hand bars.

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Although seniors care isn’t a federal responsibility, Trudeau said, “the federal government will not micromanage long-term care.” Instead, his government would use the same model to share costs with provinces as it has used with its $10-a day child care agreements. Those agreements allow each province to decide how to spend the money, as along as child-care costs are cut in half within a year, and are lowered to $10 a day in five years.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau visits a veterans’ retirement home during his election campaign tour in Victoria on Aug. 19, 2021.
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau visits a veterans’ retirement home during his election campaign tour in Victoria on Aug. 19, 2021. Photo by KEVIN LIGHT /REUTERS

Trudeau didn’t offer specifics about the long-term care plan, including when the program would begin, its time frame for spending or how costs would be shared with the provinces.

The Liberal leader also spent time slamming his Tory opponents, saying: “We can’t let the Conservatives take Canada backwards.”

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