CAREGIVER RECOGNITION ACT WOULD RECOGNIZE CAREGIVERS' CONTRIBUTION TO FAMILIES, COMMUNITIES: RONDEAU
Legislation introduced today would establish a legislative framework to increase awareness and recognition of Manitoba’s informal or family caregivers, and acknowledge their valuable contribution to society, Healthy Living, Youth and Seniors Minister Jim Rondeau has announced.
“With our aging population and increased longevity, a growing number of family members are providing voluntary care for their loved ones so they may remain in their community as long as possible,” said Rondeau. “These caregivers provide a valuable service to their families and to their communities, and in many cases, it comes at a physical, emotional and sometimes financial cost to individuals and families. Our legislation recognizes both the value of their contribution and the need to work with caregivers to provide a network of supports.”
Key provisions of the Caregiver Recognition Act (CRA) would include:
proclaiming the first Tuesday of April in each year as Caregiver Recognition Day;
creating general principles relating to caregivers, outlining how caregivers should be treated and considered when interacting with the public, health staff and in the workplace;
instituting a progress report every two years, which would evaluate caregiver needs and supports;
establishing a Caregiver Advisory Committee to provide the minister with information, advice and recommendations; and
starting consultations with the minister and caregivers, organizations that provide care, appropriate government departments, the advisory committee and others.
According to the General Social Survey (2007), about one-fifth of Manitobans aged 45 and over reported providing assistance to a senior experiencing physical or other limitations due to a long-term health condition.
“The Caregiver Recognition Act is going to be an important step in the process of supporting caregivers, so they may have opportunities to enjoy optimum health and well-being,” said Rondeau. “We will also conduct consultations with all groups of caregivers including those who care for disabled adult children and those within immigrant and refugee families. This consultation will help guide the development of a broader caregiver framework for caregiver recognition and caregiver supports.”
Rondeau noted the government’s recent budget included a 25 per cent increase to the maximum annual Primary Caregiver Tax Credit, to $1,275 from $1,020 per care recipient.
The province would also establish a website for caregivers, which would provide centralized navigation to community and government resources. This would include information on support groups, financial benefits and human-resource policies.
The proposed legislation is part of the province’s Age-Friendly Manitoba Initiative (AFMI), launched in 2008, that encourages policies, services and structures to support seniors in leading active, socially engaged and independent lives. AFMI continues to gain momentum throughout the province, with 80 per cent of Manitoba’s population living in communities that have committed to being age-friendly, Rondeau said.