Out-of-pocket medical expenses faced by Canadian seniors and their caregivers are growing rapidly and will continue to do so. Currently, three non-refundable tax credits are the only means by which the federal government attempts to offsets this burden. As designed, these credits are utilized by higher-income rather than lower-income individuals and as such present an inequity.
The report proposes two more effective ways to support seniors and their caregivers. The first option is to make the existing tax credits refundable. This would offer greater support to caregivers and care receivers who have little to no income, but does not address all the drawbacks to these credits. The second, more comprehensive option is a Seniors Care Benefit based on four principles: easy to claim, income-tested, treating caregivers and care receivers as a single unit, and providing better financial support, both now and in the future.
The estimated costs and benefits of each option, both for the federal government and for seniors and their caregivers, are outlined in the report.