Government assistance and funding for caregivers in Canada
Is there a caregiver allowance? Can I get paid to take care of mom and dad? I can’t tell you the number of times I have been asked these questions. While I hate to be the bearer of bad news, my shoulders are broad enough to be this bearer. The only province in Canada that has such an allowance is Nova Scotia (known as The Caregiver Benefit Program). Yes, you read that right. Nova Scotia.
Before you pack your bags and your parents, and head out to this fine eastern province, check out the federal tax benefits and insurance benefits that are available to all Canadian citizens. Bookmark this page, because it’s not if, but when, you are going to need this information. Did someone say financial stress?
Federal tax credits and insurance benefits
Here are steps you can take to minimize financial stress for both you as a daughter/son and for your parent:
- Learn about the federal government’s Compassionate Care Benefit (CCB) program. Employment Insurance benefits and job protection are provided to eligible family members for up to twenty-eight weeks while caring for someone.
- Claim the Canada Caregiver Credit when you file your income tax.
- Consider an application for the Disability Tax Credit. A person with a “severe and prolonged” impairment in physical or mental function may claim the disability amount once they are eligible. Caregivers of dependents or spouses/common law partners may be eligible to have the disability tax credit amount transferred to their own tax return.
- Reach out to the local constituency office of your provincial government (MPP, MNA or MLA) or federal Member of Parliament (MP) for the most up–to-date provincial and federal assistance available to you (the staff will also guide you and help you with applications, if needed).
Additional programs and funding
If your parent requires special equipment or assistive devices such as a wheelchair or walker, the following programs can help:
- The Home & Vehicle Modification Program is funded by the Government of Ontario and administered by March of Dimes Canada to help Ontarians whose mobility and daily living activities are substantially restricted by an injury, birth defect, or long-term illness. If you live in British Columbia, PEI, Quebec, or Manitoba, click here to learn about similar programs available to you.
- For more than 50 years, the Canadian Red Cross has been offering the Health Equipment Loan Program (HELP). This program is available to residents of British Columbia, Alberta, New Brunswick, PEI, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Yukon.
- The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Assistive Devices Program provides financial assistance to purchase medical equipment and supplies for those who qualify.
- Ceridian Cares provides grants for not only assistive devices, but also clothing and footwear, food and basic household needs, and personal development and recreation to those who qualify.
- I also recommend contacting national disease/illness-specific organizations (such as Muscular Dystrophy Canada, The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis [ALS] Canada) for funding that they may provide.
- Individual or local branches of national charitable organizations may provide funding for assistive devices. You can use the national websites to access the contact information for local clubs. Each club or local branch may have different offerings and application processes.
Government and charitable organization programs often change and evolve. It is a good idea to regularly check the above websites for the latest in financial assistance and support.
Bookmark this page. I would bet money you are going to need it at some point!