RED DEER, AB – A Wildrose government would invest an additional $50 million in homecare, strengthen the Assisted Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) program and keep Red Deer’s Michener Centre open, the Wildrose Official Opposition announced.
The commitments are just part of Moving Alberta Forward: Caring for our Seniors, Children and the Vulnerable – the third of nine policy initiatives Wildrose will unveil this summer and fall. It was announced this morning in Red Deer.
“We as a province should be measured not on how prosperous we are but on how we care for those who need help caring for themselves,” Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said. “Alberta should be able to provide the very best support services to our most vulnerable and Wildrose is committed to exactly that.”
Smith unveiled the policy at Red Deer’s Michener Centre – a care facility for the developmentally disabled that the PC government intends to close down. She said the abrupt decision to shutter Michener is just another example of the PCs’ callous approach to Alberta’s vulnerable population.
“Whether it’s seniors who need extra community supports, children in government care or individuals with disabilities, this government has let our most vulnerable slip through the cracks,” Smith said. “Their record is clear and it’s a black mark for our province. It’s time to move forward and give these individuals and families the dignity and the help they need.”
The additional $50 million a year for homecare will be adjusted annually to keep up with enrolment, providing a reliable stream of support for seniors. Over four years, this would represent a 40% increase in homecare funding. The investment will eliminate the unmet homecare needs of seniors, help them stay in their homes and in their communities and free up badly needed acute care hospital beds.
Under the Wildrose policy, AISH payments will also increase with the rate of inflation and recipients will continue to receive the same income and prescription coverage benefits after they turn 65.
“There is absolutely no excuse for a province as wealthy and blessed as Alberta to be letting down so many vulnerable individuals,” Wildrose Human Services Critic Kerry Towle said. “Wildrose is focused on using the benefits of our prosperity to improve the programs and standards of care for our most vulnerable citizens. This announcement reflects that focus.”
To read the entire policy document, click here.
Other highlights of Caring for our Seniors, Children and the Vulnerable include:
- Investing an additional $50 million per year in homecare and annually increasing homecare funding thereafter to keep up with enrollment
- Keeping the Michener Centre open and allowing resident to remain in their homes with the care they require
- Indexing all forms of AISH funding to increase with the rate of inflation. Ending the financial hardship AISH recipients face when they turn 65 by ensuring their pre-65 income and prescription coverage is maintained
- Increasing the tax credit for small charitable donations to be as generous as those for political donations
- Implementing five-year funding agreements to community agencies in all areas of continuing care, disability supports and children’s services. Reporting on measurable outcomes tracked by key performance indicators
- Review child intervention policy and processes, the foster care system and group homes to ensure that objective decision-making, safety, training, compensation and caseload levels are set at the highest standards possible
- Increasing and indexing Family Community Support Services funding to the inflation rate
- Ending the ‘divorce-by-nursing home’ 80-kilometre policy so married couples can continue living together