Coalition demands better treatment of seniors in Quebec
The Coalition for the Dignity of Seniors (CDA) sent recommendations to the Minister of Finance as part of pre-budget consultations. In the documents, the CDA pleads for urgent action on the unacceptable treatment of seniors in Quebec. This was highlighted in the Covid-19 pandemic as seniors’ homes and residences were extremely vulnerable to the virus and this led to many discoveries of mistreatment in the facilities.
The CDA wants to ensure that seniors age in dignity and have better living conditions. The Coalition provides recommendations and solutions to support seniors' autonomy, advocates for more investment in healthcare, palliative care and medical assistance. The CDA also wants seniors to have access to income that is above the low-income cut-off.
—Investing in healthcare
According to the CDA, the demand for long-term care and home care services will increase as people over 65 will make up 25% of the population in 15 years. The coalition highlights that the healthcare system is to meet home care needs as they only invest 14% of public funding into home care; despite home care enabling seniors to be in their community for longer.
The CDA asks the Minister of Finance to increase budgets for home care services, limit the use of the private sector for home care services to reduce the cost and increase accessibility, consider the needs of caregivers in assessing the level of care and the service required, create a tax credit for home maintenance for individuals over 70 who live in their own homes, and create financing methods for long-term care, based on the needs of individuals, not institutions.
—Preventative health and palliative care
Preventative health care can delay or prevent chronic illness and diseases that lead to more expensive services. However, according to CDA, the Quebec Government only attributes 2% of their health budget to prevention.
The CDA recommends investing in preventative health care and making oral, hearing, and visual health services more accessible, along with mental health services.
The CDA also hopes that the government considers increasing the budget for palliative care in hospitals, residential centres and long-term care homes, more specifically, funding for services that provide medically assisted dying. The coalition also asks Quebec to review the End-of-Life Care Act to enable individuals to request medically assisted dying in advance.
In their document presented to the Quebec Government, the CDA says, “It is imperative to continue and push the thinking about palliative care and access to support for medically assisted dying. This is a matter of respect for the will and dignity of every person at the end of life.”
—Income for seniors
A major issue for the CDA is low incomes for seniors, which they consider to be between $24,083 and $32,682 after taxes for one person. However, an individual who is only qualified to receive Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) receives approximately $18,000.
To solve these issues the CDA recommends creating a new benefit for those who do not have sufficient income, increasing the death benefit to $5,000 for the estate, enhancing the Funeral Benefit and the Medical Expense Tax Credit, and reducing the eligibility threshold from 3% to 1.5% income for those aged 65 and over.
The CDA was founded in June 2020 and is made up of associations of seniors who work with the government on issues that affect Quebec seniors, specifically, in regard to income and finance, health, and housing.