Montreal home care provides services and financial help for seniors to stay at home longer, and gives caregivers the opportunity to take time off from work. The service includes domestic help (housekeeping, laundry, shopping, meal preparation and minor exterior maintenance), and is provided by “social economy businesses” approved by the Regie d’assurance maladie du Québec or health insurance board. The service is free for qualified recipients, although some regions experience high demand and thus have waiting lists.
Quebec’s population is aging faster than its current long-term care residence system can handle, and most seniors prefer to live at home as they age. The province needs to develop its home care network in a way that promotes independence, benefits seniors and is fiscally sound.
In fact, avoiding premature institutionalization by supporting informal caregivers is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve care for the elderly. A well-developed home care network would also reduce the need to build more places in CHSLDs, and allow the province to meet its commitments to the most vulnerable seniors.
Quebec’s tax credits to support family caregivers are an important tool in this regard, but only 59,197 people claimed these credits in 2018, a small fraction of the estimated number who could benefit. To help more families take advantage of these credit programs, the Commission des normes, de l’equite, de la scurit au travail (CNESST or labour standards, pay equity and workplace safety board) has developed a form that can be given to employers to prove caregiver status.