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On Monday, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance announced the next steps in our plan to support Canadians through the pandemic and rebuild our economy. I would like to highlight and share with you some items in the Fall Economic Statement 2020 that are of interest to seniors.

  • The federal government will make the COVID-19 vaccine available for free. Canada has the most diverse portfolio of vaccine candidates of any country in the world, with agreements for up to 429 million doses from seven leading candidates.
  • We will establish a new $1 billion Safe Long-term Care Fund to send to provinces and territories to help protect persons in long-term care  prevent and control infections
  • We are committing $38.5 million to support training of 4,000 personal support worker interns through an accelerated online program and 4-month work placement, to address acute labour shortages in long-term care and home care.
  • To support personal support workers, homecare workers and essential workers involved in senior care, we will work to improve retention, recruitment and retirement savings options for low- and modest-income workers, particularly those without existing workplace pension coverage.
  • To move forward in establishing the foundational elements of national, universal pharmacare, the government is working with provinces and territories on:
    • A new Canadian Drug Agency that would negotiate drug prices on behalf of all Canadians, thereby lowering costs.
    • A national formulary to be developed by the Canadian Drug Agency.
    • A national strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases, with funding of $500 million per year, starting in 2022-23.
  • We will provide $150 million to improve ventilation in public buildings to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • The government proposes to provide $150 million to support the Canadian Red Cross and others to build and maintain a humanitarian workforce to provide surge capacity in response to COVID-19 outbreaks and other large-scale emergencies.
  • We are investing $6.4 million to expand the Canadian Foundation for Health Improvement’s LTC+ initiative, which allows long-term care facilities and seniors residences to learn from each other’s pandemic preparedness.
  • We are investing $43 million to increase support for the Wellness Together Canada mental health online portal.
  • We will remove the GST/HST from the purchases of facemasks and face shields to make them more affordable.