May 13th, 2022

Home care and tax deferral will make it safe and affordable for seniors to stay at home longer

An NDP government will put about $375 a month back into seniors’ pockets

CHATHAM-KENT – NDP Leader Andrea Horwath will help seniors live at home for years longer by letting them defer property taxes, putting about $375 back in their pockets every month — and investing $1 billion to make sure home care is there to support them.

“Home is the happiest, healthiest place for our parents and grandparents. We can help them avoid hospitals and long-term care. We can give our loved ones a better quality of life as they age — in their own neighbourhood, living on their own terms,” said Horwath.

“Together, let’s make sure seniors have the money and the help they need to live at home for years longer. We’ll fix home care so support is there when people need it. And we’ll help seniors on a fixed income hold onto more of their money. With our plan, hundreds of dollars will stay in their pocket every month to help with groceries, gas and living a more full life.”

The NDP will make it safe and affordable for seniors to live at home longer by:

  • Making a record $1 billion investment into home care on top of what Ontario already spends, starting with a direct investment of $235 million more in the first year. A new, reliable, expanded basket of services will include things like transportation to appointments and meal preparation.
  • Implementing a seniors property tax deferral program. Seniors will be able to choose to have the province pay their property tax for them. The homeowner reimburses the province only when they sell their home. For a senior who pays $4,500 in property tax, that will leave another $375 every month for things like their groceries, gas, transit pass and leisure.
  • Introducing a Seniors Home Safety Grant to help seniors cover the cost of handrails, stair lifts, and other modifications to make their home safe.
  • Introducing a Caregiver Benefit program to give caregivers $400 a month to help with expenses they take on when providing regular care for a loved one, like covering their mileage and buying personal care items.

The Ontario Community Support Association reports that 18,000 people living in long-term care in 2019 could have been at home with better home care, and the Ontario Hospital Association reported 750,000 patient days where someone was trapped in a hospital bed while waiting for home or long-term care. Families frequently report that a loved ones ended up in a facility because home care failed them — with last-minute cancellations, no-shows, and rushed PSWs that don’t have enough time to deliver what’s needed.

Previous Liberal and Conservative governments broke home care by privatizing it — leaving an unaccountable patchwork that can let people down, while the company still gets paid. Doug Ford is privatizing Ontario’s home care system further, even handing over the development of care plans to for-profit corporations who also provide the care — a scheme that can easily be gamed by Ford’s buddies, while seniors pay the price.


Seniors Property Tax Deferral

Andrea Horwath and the NDP will allow seniors who own their home to defer property taxes until their house is sold. The province will finance the deferral, so municipalities don’t see their tax bases reduced. Evidence from a similar program in British Columbia shows that seniors will maintain substantial equity in their homes, ensuring that they can pass something along to their kids and grandkids.

  • The government gives the homeowner a loan to cover their taxes, which is repayable when the home is sold, with interest.
  • Seniors aged 55+ are eligible to defer taxes on their primary residence.
  • The annual property tax bill in Ontario can be as high as $6,500.

$1 billion bump for home care

Andrea Horwath and the NDP will make a sustainable investment of $1 billion over four years into better care and better living, with a direct investment of $235 million in the first year. The NDP will invest to expand the non-profit system, phasing out the for-profit patchwork

  • $28 million to increase capacity of non-profit community support services. Millions of dollars in public funding are paid every year to private profits instead of delivering care. Most service delivery is contracted-out, with more than 160 private-sector providers providing services. The NDP will invest in non-profits.
  • $57 million to prevent hospitalizations and help people stay at home longer with assisted living services. We will establish provincial standards for home care services by creating a basket of core services Ontarians are entitled to receive, such as transportation to appointments, help with meal preparation, or nursing care to help with medication management. Ontario will hold service providers accountable to ensure they meet the provincially regulated criteria for basic services.
  • $150 million so that surgical recovery and rehab patients can recover at home. The NDP will address overcrowding and hallway health care by supporting rehabilitation and therapy at home or in the community.

Seniors Home Safety Grant

The Ontario NDP will transition the Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit to a Seniors’ Home Safety Grant Program, where up to $5,000 in eligible expenses are covered, eligible expenses for the program will remain the same, and grants will be processed through the same single-window entity we are creating for the Home Retrofit Program and will cover the cost of handrails, stair lifts, and other modifications to make homes safer for seniors.

Caregiver Benefit

The Ontario NDP recognizes the invaluable role that family caregivers play, and all the ways they help with their time and money. That is why we will create a provincial Caregiver Benefit Program that provides direct support to family caregivers to expand on existing federal tax credit programs. This program would provide $400 a month to informal caregivers of elderly, frail, or infirm loved ones. After one year, the program will be evaluated to determine the most appropriate rate.

  • This program is modelled after the Nova Scotia Caregiver Benefit Program. The program is for caregivers of low-income adults with disabilities or impairments that qualify them for Home Care. There are eligibility criteria for the caregiver and recipient; individuals must be in a care relationship, both aged 19+ and Nova Scotia residents. The recipient must have a net annual income of $26,165 or less if single, or a net household income of $42,165 or less if married/common-law. The caregiver must provide 20h+ of assistance per week and otherwise be unpaid for the care provided. Caregiver must sign an agreement that defines the terms and conditions of receiving the Caregiver Benefit. Individuals and caregivers must apply to the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness, Continuing Care Division.

New Democrats will legislate a new independent office of the Seniors’ Advocate to safeguard the interests of elderly Ontarians.

Andrea Horwath and the NDP will scrap Bill 124. Ontario will undertake a mission to train, recruit retain and return health care workers, adding 10,000 PSWs and 30,000 nurses. With Horwath, PSWs will get a $5 raise over pre-pandemic wages, and their jobs will become full-time, well-paid careers instead of part-time gigs.

The NDP will prioritize aligning home care services to communities’ needs, creating culturally appropriate resources and training for home and community care programs and developing a provincial jobs-matching program to attract and match PSWs and other home care workers to communities where they have shared cultural and linguistic knowledge.

[email protected]