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Sorry, folks: Liberals break campaign promise to immediately invest in home care

The Liberal government has broken a campaign promise to "immediately" invest new money in home care.

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The Liberal government has broken a campaign promise to “immediately” invest new money in home care.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau confirmed Tuesday the government will not be making new investments in home care, indicating the government will work with provinces and territories on the issue instead.

That’s notable, however, because the Liberals’ 2015 election platform promised an “immediate commitment” to investing $3 billion over four years to ensure “all Canadians” — in particular, seniors — have improved access to home care services:

“As an immediate commitment, we will invest $3 billion, over the next four years, to deliver more and better home care services for all Canadians. This includes more access to high quality in-home caregivers, financial supports for family care, and, when necessary, palliative care.”

According to the Liberal platform, $400 million was to be spent immediately on home care in 2016-17, followed by an additional $650 million in 2017-18, $900 million in 2018-19 and then $1 billion by the end of the decade:

homecare-chart.jpg

Although health care falls under provincial jurisdiction, the federal government already transfers $36 billion to provinces and territories through the Canada Health transfer — the federal government could transfer additional money for this specific initiative using the same formula.

While the budget allocates no new money to home care, it does indicate the Minister of Health is discussing how to “improve access to home care” with “her provincial and territorial counterparts”:

“The Minister of Health has begun discussions with her provincial and territorial counterparts to enhance the affordability and accessibility of prescription drugs, improve access to home care and mental health services, and support pan-Canadian innovation in the delivery of health services.”

In other words, there will not be an “immediate” $3 billion investment in home care.

Sorry.

Photo: Finance Canada.

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