08/24/2015 08:52 EDT | Updated 08/24/2016 05:59 EDT

Canada Medical Association Calls For National Seniors Strategy

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Close up of older woman and caretaker holding hands
HALIFAX — The Canadian Medical Association is renewing its call for a national seniors strategy, saying the parties vying to win the federal election this fall should commit to offering more tax incentives for those caring for elderly family members.

The association, meeting this week in Halifax, adopted a resolution today that asks Ottawa to drop a requirement that says tax incentives can only be offered to caregivers living with elderly parents or relatives.

Calgary physician Sarah Bates told the meeting that more than 75 per cent of the care provided to older Canadians comes from unpaid, informal caregivers, usually a relative.

She says there are tax incentives to offset the financial drain caused by this demanding work, but she says the Canadian government should look to the United States, where there is a more flexible tax regime.

Dr. Chris Simpson, president of the association, says the current, non-refundable caregiver tax credit is used by only about three per cent of those who are eligible.

He says the credit should be refundable and less restrictive.


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