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By Robert Frank
Liberal Party leader Philippe Couillard visited Laval, March 17, to announce measures to help Quebec’s senior citizens.
He unveiled a plan to give taxpayers aged 60 and over a 20% refundable tax credit aimed at keeping them physically, artistically and culturally active, if he forms a government after the April 7 election.
“It’s widely acknowledgred that an active lifestyle greatly increases longevity and quality of life, prevents dementia and loss of autonomy,” said Dr. Couillard, who previously served as Quebec health minister.
“That is why we want to facilitate access to physical activity and recreation,” he continued. “It will help seniors develop new skills that will mitigate the effects of aging, keep them socially networked and end their isolation.”
Couillard also proposed to work closely with municipalities and add $3-6 million of financial support to help them beef up their existing seniors programs.
In addition, he mooted a loan program to help low- and middle-income seniors to pay soaring municipal and school property taxes. The program is aimed at helping seniors remain in their homes as long as possible, to save the cost of moving them to government run institutions. The loans would be administered in a similar fashion to student loans, Couiillard said, and would be repaid upon the eventual sale of their home.
Provincial programs to support caregiver services would also get a $5 million annual boost, he added—and he would ensure that spouses who out of necessity have to serve as caregivers also qualify for income tax credits.
“We’re committed to investing $150 per year for the next five years, in order to get there,” Couillard concluded.
(Photo © Robert Frank)