Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is promising $9 billion in new funding aimed at protecting seniors if his party were to form government next month.
Trudeau made the promise Thursday while on a campaign stop in Victoria, saying such funding was needed to address Canada's “shortfalls” in supporting seniors — a situation that became even more apparent during the pandemic.
The Liberals’ plan would see the federal government boost the minimum wage for support workers in long-term care facilities to at least $25 an hour.
The proposal would also see up to 50,000 more workers trained so that those on the frontlines would not have to do “endless overtime shifts,” Trudeau said.
“We’re not doing a good enough job everywhere across the country to support our seniors and our loved ones,” he said.
The Liberal leader added a new government would also help seniors living at home by boosting the home accessibility tax credit to $20,000. This would allow seniors to make improvements to their homes such as the addition of guardrails or widened doors to ensure wheelchairs and other equipment could pass through rooms easily.
Trudeau said the federal government was not interested in micromanaging long-term care, which falls under the domain of the promises.
Instead, he compared the campaign promise to recent efforts to deploy affordable childcare in provinces such as B.C., adding that the support for seniors would be tailored to specific provinces’ needs.
“We can use this model to deliver results for seniors, too,” the Liberal leader said.
Last month, B.C. and the federal government announced plans to introduce $10 a day childcare on the West Coast over the next five years.
Trudeau was pressed throughout his Thursday campaign stop about the situation in Afghanistan, which has seen the Taliban overtake the country over the past week.
Flights departing for Canada — part of an effort to extract Canadian citizens and Afghan citizens who supported the previous democratic regime — have not yet begun, though.
“The situation on the ground is extremely complex, extremely difficult, but I can assure you that Canada, our forces, our personnel, are working as hard as they can every single day to get people out of Afghanistan,” Trudeau said.
The Liberal leader also made a campaign stop in Vancouver a day earlier, promising $500 million in new funding for firefighters and equipment ahead of next year’s fire season.
While both Victoria and Vancouver are grappling with the opioid crisis, Trudeau did not directly answer a question about whether he would consider decriminalizing street drugs to as part of an effort to address the situation.
“We are very interested in working with the province of British Columbia around exceptions and exemptions to move forward to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to protect people from the devastating impacts of the opioid crisis,” he said.
While Canada has reopened its land border to fully vaccinated Americans to help spur growth in the devastated tourism sector, marine borders along ferry routes remain closed.
“It is an issue we are working on directly,” Trudeau said.
“It isn’t something we have the capacity at this exact moment to manage.”
The next federal election is set for September 20.
—With a file from Brendan Kergin, Vancouver is Awesome