MONTREAL, QC -
The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) congratulates the Quebec government for adopting its first national policy for caregivers and launching the Plan d’action gouvernemental pour les personnes proches aidantes 2021-2026 : Reconnaître pour mieux soutenir (government action plan for caregivers 2021-2026: recognizing caregivers to better support them) on October 27. The measures and objectives outlined in this document are relevant in several respects, particularly the recognition of caregivers and information sharing, although the policy includes few concrete measures to address financial insecurity.
While an estimated 56,000 Quebecers were diagnosed with cancer in 2020, it should be noted that for each of them, one to three loved ones around them serve as their caregiver, an indispensable support system for those with cancer. Caregivers are the unsung heroes of our healthcare system.
"It is important to note that caregivers have provided more support than usual throughout the pandemic, despite feeling less supported and more isolated," says David Raynaud, Manager, Advocacy, CCS. "Caregivers face multiple challenges, from financial insecurity and difficulty accessing information to isolation caused by a lack of support."
CCS is pleased to recognize that the Government of Quebec is proposing several measures that will allow for the development of an approach based on a partnership between the health network, community organizations, and caregivers.
In its brief tabled on September 25, 2020 and presented to the Committee on Citizen Relations as part of the development of Bill 56, CCS also advocated the importance of developing new financial support measures for family caregivers. Currently, very few have access to the provincial tax credit for caregivers because the criteria are so restrictive and inflexible. Far from reflecting the diverse realities of people caring for a loved one with cancer, support for caregivers is sorely lacking and, in many cases, inaccessible.
“Despite the recent relaxation, the eligibility criteria for obtaining the caregiver respite tax credit are very specific and few caregivers have access to it,” added Raynaud. “The Government of Quebec is moving in the right direction with its action plan, but we must act quickly to mitigate the financial insecurity of caregivers through concrete measures."
A CCS survey on the patient and caregiver experience conducted in January 2021 showed that 45% of caregivers were concerned about the immediate future of their jobs and 38% said they needed more financial support from the government.
Finally, CCS welcomes the Quebec government’s initiative to improve palliative care services for caregivers. This decision will allow for better support for caregivers and promote home care for people with cancer. In fact, according to the January 2021 CCS survey, 41% of caregivers said they want better access to home care.
About the Canadian Cancer Society
The Canadian Cancer Society works tirelessly to save and improve lives. We fund the brightest minds in cancer research. We provide a compassionate support system for all those affected by cancer, from coast to coast and for all types of cancer. As the voice for Canadians who care about cancer, we work with governments to establish health policies to prevent cancer and better support those living with the disease. No other organization does all that we do to improve lives today and to change the future of cancer forever.
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For more information, please contact:Nuala Mckee
Canadian Cancer Society