What do you plan on doing to support seniors in need of care and living on fixed incomes? That’s a question The Discourse heard after we asked what questions you have for provincial election candidates.
We sent the question to candidates in the Nanaimo riding. BC Liberal candidate Kathleen Jones did not respond to the request by the deadline. We will update this story if we receive a response.
The Discourse is offering pop-up election coverage in Nanaimo based on feedback from residents. Sign up to get our stories straight to your inbox. If enough people want us to continue in-depth coverage in Nanaimo, we’ll stick around.
Lia Versaevel, BC Green Party
I would work to implement a basic living income, which would supplement pensions and
make sure that no senior has to live in poverty. I would promote the expansion of the Fair
Pharmacare program so that more seniors will be eligible to receive help with payment
for their prescriptions.
Our seniors need more affordable housing of all kinds. I would push for subsidized
housing designed specifically for seniors with supported living and reliable home care.
Retrofitting and renovating older housing stock would create a greater supply of
affordable housing that seniors could access, as well as promoting energy efficiency.
The biggest change we need to see to support seniors in need of care, though, is to
move away from the for-profit model of long-term care. As we have seen so tragically
with the COVID-19 crisis, the for-profit model simply does not work.
In contrast, the non-profit model provides more care for less money. The Office of the BC
Seniors Advocate has found that not-for-profit care homes provided 80,000 more hours
of direct care than they were paid to deliver.
I would advocate for all long-term care homes to be non-profit, and also lobby the federal
government to establish national standards of care so that our seniors would not have to
live in the terrible conditions that were revealed during the pandemic.
Sheila Malcolmson, BC NDP
When we took over after 16 years of BC Liberal government, too many seniors in
B.C. were struggling to get by, and report after report had slammed the BC Liberals
for failing to meet seniors’ basic care needs. There was a lot of work to do to get B.C. back on track, but we got started immediately by eliminating unfair MSP premiums, reducing or eliminating Pharmacare deductibles and co-payments for nearly a quarter-million British
Columbians, expanding SAFER rent supplements, and investing $1 billion over three
years to improve seniors care, including increasing staff to ensure seniors get the
direct-care hours they need in long-term care homes.
If re-elected we’ll build on this work by:
1. Expanding publicly funded home care to provide better care and help with
daily living – bathing, dressing, meal preparation and more – so that people
can stay in their own homes for as long as is safely possible.
2. Making sure long-term care remains robust, well-funded, and able to quickly
respond to a crisis.
3. Hiring and training 7,000 new health care workers for long-term care homes
and assisted living facilities.
4. Building more public care homes that keep seniors safer, healthier and more
comfortable, and make sure private operators are more transparent and
accountable for the public funding they get.
5. Providing a one-time $500-$1,000 direct-deposit recovery benefit to
individuals and families with low to medium incomes.
6. Continuing to roll out our Homes For BC plan, the largest investment in
affordable housing in our province’s history.
7. Freezing rents until the end of 2021, and then limiting rent increases to the
rate of inflation.