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Liberals pledge $9 billion for long-term care

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said today that a re-elected Liberal government would spend $9 billion to address the dangerous shortfalls in Canada’s long-term care sector that were exposed by the pandemic.

“As we learn the difficult lessons of this pandemic, we must make sure tragedies like this never happen again,” Trudeau told a news conference in Victoria, B.C.

A $9 billion investment would be a significant increase on the government’s long-term care commitment in the 2021 budget, which called for new spending of $3 billion over five years, starting in 2022-23.

The Liberals say the increased investment would be used to improve the quality and availability of long-term care beds.

Long-term care residents accounted for around 80 per cent of all reported COVID-19 deaths during the first wave of the pandemic, and continued to account for a disproportionate share of deaths until vaccines were made widely available.

WATCH | Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau on his plans for long-term care

Trudeau says the Liberal party would invest $9 billion in Canada’s long-term care sector

2 hours ago

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau also proposed raising the minimum wage for personal support workers to at least $25 as part of his party’s long-term care platform. 2:37

Trudeau said a Liberal government also would push for a new $25 per hour minimum wage for personal support workers — although achieving that new standard would require cooperation from the provinces and territories.

Trudeau said his government wants to secure higher wages for those workers through investments and partnerships with provincial and territorial governments.

The promised additional spending would also be used to train up to 50,000 new personal support workers

“To the personal support workers who have been on the frontlines of this pandemic, truly you are our heroes,” Trudeau said.

The Liberals say they would also double the Home Accessibility Tax Credit from $10,000 to $20,000. That credit can be used for renovations that help seniors stay in their homes longer.

A report published earlier this month by the Parliamentary Budget Officer estimated that long-term care improvements would cost taxpayers $13.7 billion.

The Conservatives are promising $3 billion over the next three years to renovate long-term care homes across Canada. The Conservative election platform also calls for more partnerships with private non-profit operators and changes to the Criminal Code to better protect long-term care residents.

The NDP has proposed a starkly different approach in their platform, which calls for the end of privatized long-term care and the creation of a public long-term care system.

The Green Party has not yet released its election platform but the party earlier this year called for numerous changes, including the introduction of national standards of care, the removal of profit from the system and higher pay for workers.

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