Caregivers: QS claims $ 200 / month
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois and Christine Labrie of Québec solidaire are calling for a monthly allowance for family caregivers.
Share October 31, 2020 3:00 am Updated at 4:05 am Share Caregivers: QS claims $ 200 / month
Olivier Bossé Le Soleil EXCLUSIVE / Caregivers spend more during the pandemic to take care of their loved one, whether at home or remotely. Québec solidaire urges the Legault government to pay them an emergency allowance of $ 200 per month, pending a permanent solution.
“Caregivers have really suffered the full impact of the pandemic. Especially at the financial level, because it generated new expenses for them, ”explains to the Sun the family spokesperson for Quebec solidaire (QS), Christine Labrie.
“It can be through the purchase of electronic equipment to stay in contact with their loved one, when they could no longer have access in person. It goes up quickly, buy a phone or a tablet! Or assume more transportation, because paratransit has been interrupted in certain places. Pay for home services because organizations don't offer as much. That means several expenses for hundreds of dollars, even thousands if we are talking about a tablet, ”lists the member for Sherbrooke.
She compares this aid to a “lifeline”.
In a survey conducted in July for the Regroupement des aidants naturel du Québec, 57% of caregivers said they had lacked the resources to take care of their loved one since the start of the pandemic. More than half.
Almost two in three, 64%, had not received any financial assistance from the various programs, Canada Emergency Benefit (CEP) or others. One in five caregivers had even quantified the increase in expenses related to their role at $ 890, on average, but sometimes reaching $ 6,000.
$ 12M monthly plaster
Approximately 60,000 Quebeckers take advantage of the tax credit for informal caregivers each year. A new monthly amount of $ 200 per month would equate to an additional charge of $ 12 million per month on the government.
QS asks to develop this emergency bridge “as quickly as possible” and at least until the unveiling of the next budget, in March.
“We can imagine that it starts in December for a first tranche of four months,” said for his part the manager of health and social services at QS, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.
The initial request is around $ 50 million. “A significant expense, but not exaggerated either in view of the $ 15 billion deficit,” put Mr. Nadeau-Dubois into perspective.
“But the measure should last as long as the health situation justifies it. And I want to say for as long as we do not resolve the problem of the impoverishment of informal caregivers, because this is one of the results of the study of Bill 56, the general phenomenon. of impoverishment. We, what we come to do, is to put a plaster on the sore in the meantime, but will have to linger on the sore, “insists the deputy for Gouin and co-head of the party.
For a full year, it would be around $ 150 million.
According to the Regroupement des aidants naturel du Québec, the Quebec government saves between $ 4 billion and $ 10 billion each year thanks to the invisible work of caregivers.
In addition to spending more, they also lose income.
A solution under construction
On Wednesday, the elected representatives of the National Assembly of Quebec unanimously adopted Bill 56 aimed at recognizing and supporting caregivers. Bill led by the Minister responsible for Seniors and Caregivers, Marguerite Blais.
Involved in the detailed study of the bill, Ms. Labrie is delighted to see finally recognized the problem of the impoverishment of family caregivers.
“But it's still several months before the action plan is released, and then a long time before the measures get to people. We are going in the right direction by recognizing the problem, but for the next year, that will not put more money in the pockets of caregivers. And we know that this year is even worse because of the pandemic, ”says Ms. Labrie.
The second opposition party in the Quebec parliament is therefore asking for immediate help.
“We saw this during the pandemic, when we took caregivers out of the health and services network, when their contribution jumped, things started to go very, very badly. If that does not serve as a lesson to us and that it does not enlighten us collectively on the need to better help them so that they stop becoming impoverished, I do not know what will do it, summarizes Mr. Nadeau-Dubois.
“Our proposal is the strict minimum, a little tape on a problem that will have to be resolved. Until it applies and it works, what are we doing here now? We think that this $ 200 per month is a respite and a little help to which caregivers are entitled. ”
MENTAL HEALTH: OTHER INVESTMENTS … POTENTIALLY
Other investments are coming in mental health, promised Friday the Minister for Health and Social Services, Lionel Carmant, after an arrest.
“It's hard to predict what will happen next, but clearly, we want to make more investments in mental health and improve the network in the long term,” he said.
In the meantime, he encourages Quebeckers who are experiencing psychological distress to start by using the government's self-care guide “Getting better my way”.
The Legault government is accused of not taking the full measure of the mental health crisis that is shaking Quebec. He announced this week the addition of $ 25 million to help young people, but opposition parties reported that several others were being overlooked: entrepreneurs, farmers, teachers, etc.
“We are asking for a human vision, and not an accounting vision, of the treatment of mental health,” Liberal MP Monsef Derraji said on Friday. His colleague, Liberal David Birnbaum, added by saying that Quebecers from all walks of life were experiencing a mental health crisis parallel to that of COVID-19.
In addition to the 60% of young people who say they are anxious or in distress, 34% of teachers are now thinking of leaving the profession due to stress related to the pandemic, and 70% of psychologists have noted the return of several of their former patients, a he listed.
The number of claims for antidepressants made with private insurers rose by 11% in Canada between January and August 2020, but by 20% in Quebec, said the Liberals, who campaign for universal access to psychotherapy at the cost of 300 million $.
This is a “historic” mental health crisis, according to the co-spokesperson for Quebec solidaire, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, who took advantage of the arrest on Friday to demand the improvement of wages and working conditions. psychologists in the public network. The Canadian Press