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B.C. party leaders trade seniors’ home care promises on campaign trail Sunday

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B.C.’s two larges political parties traded duelling promises on seniors care as they campaigned in the 2020 provincial election on Sunday.

The BC Liberals are promising a new tax credit for seniors’ home care and $1 billion in funding to improve long-term care homes, if elected.

Read more: BC Liberals promise Surrey RCMP referendum, NDP pledge ICBC rebate, Greens pitch renters’ grant

Leader Andrew Wilkinson made the promise at a campaign stop in North Vancouver on Sunday, with north shore candidates Jane Thornthwaite (North Vancouver-Seymour), ‘Lyn Anglin (North Vancouver-Lonsdale) and Karin Kirkpatrick (West Vancouver-Capilano).

Under the plan seniors who opt to live at home would be eligible for a tax credit of up to $7,000 for home care services.

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The 35 per cent credit would apply to up to $20,000 of spending, covering things like housekeeping, home support services or handyman services.

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“We’re taking an approach that will give genuine choice to seniors … seniors deserve to be able to live in the comfort and security of their home as long as they can,” said Wilkinson.

“Some people may say this could be a bit expensive, but compare it with the cost of institutional care, which is much, much higher.”

Read more: B.C. election 2020: Find your riding and candidates

The party says it will also spend $1 billion over five years to replace and upgrade outdated long-term care and assisted living facilities to ensure all residents have access to a private room.

Wilkinson said the NDP’s long-term care plan would be rolled out too slowly.

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The NDP has promised to eliminate shared rooms in seniors’ care homes and have pledged $1.4 billion over a decade to build new facilities and hike employee wages.

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Campaigning Sunday in Courtenay with Courtenay-Comox candidate Ronna-Rae Leonard, BC NDP Leader John Horgan made his own home-care pledge.

In contrast to the Liberal proposal, the NDP’s home-care plan will focus on public funding for health-care workers.

Read more: B.C. election 2020 promise tracker: What the major parties are pledging

“The focus here is making sure we’re adding more hours to home care, so that we’re having a continuation of care,” Horgan said.

“When my mom was receiving home care often times she was seeing a different provider different times two or three times in a week, so we want to make sure the resources (are) there … so we can have the same person arriving at the house week after week.”

Details of the plan, including how much money the NDP would commit, will be unveiled later this week as a part of the NDP platform, Horgan said.

BC Green Leader Sonia Furstenau appeared at a campaign event at in Duncan (Cowichan Valley) on Sunday, where she promised a $500 million renters’ grant program targeted at people who spend more than 30 per cent of their income on housing.

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