Since our government announced the 2017 Ontario Budget: A Strong, Healthier Ontario, I have received a number of inquiries from constituents in Kingston and the Islands about provincial support for seniors in our community.
I wanted to take a moment to reiterate our government’s plan to develop additional programs and services that support seniors in our province. There may be services that constituents are unaware of and I have detailed some of them here.
Promoting Healthy and Active Aging
The Ontario government is investing $8 million over the next three years to establish more Elderly Persons Centres (EPCs). These centres deliver a range of social and recreational programs that promote wellness for seniors. Since 2015, the Government of Ontario has invested $63,557 in Seniors Association Kingston Region for these programs. Our government is also moving forward with a new Ontario Seniors' Public Transit Tax Credit for all residents aged 65 or older. It will provide a refundable benefit of 15 per cent of eligible public transit costs, providing an average annual benefit of $130, effective July 1, 2017.
Connecting Seniors with Community, Culture and Technology
The Seniors Community Grant (SCG) Program was launched in 2014 and has already supported over 900 projects. The fund has grown steadily ever since on account of how popular and effective it has been. This year, an additional $11 million over the next three years has been allocated to this fund which offers grants to not-for-profit organizations to support social inclusion for seniors. Since 2015, the Government of Ontario has invested $106,400 in 12 not for profit organizations within Kingston and the Islands to promote seniors’ social engagement.
There is also the Age-Friendly Community Planning Grant that has invested $35,000 to Frontenac County since 2015 to support upgrades that make the community more accessible and senior friendly.
Supporting Seniors’ Health
There are a number of other programs that have been specifically designed to benefit seniors such as our investments in seniors health care. We are supporting seniors through investing in local solutions for new models of care. As a first step, we will explore the establishment of accommodations vouchers for seniors who may no longer require hospital care after an acute episode. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is currently evaluating proposals submitted by the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) for short-term transitional care models, and expects that approved proposals will be implemented in November 2017. This approach could include a combination of temporary and permanent care and accommodation solutions including the development of a voucher to provide permanent accommodation to patients designated alternate level of care (ALC), and other at-risk seniors, in settings outside the hospital and long-term care homes (e.g. congregate settings, retirement homes). Additional details on the accommodation voucher will be developed in 2018/19 following the implementation and lessons learned from short-term transitional care models.
Ontario’s new Dementia Strategy will provide more than $100 million over the next three years to support those living with dementia and their care givers. We will also invest an additional $20 million in 2017 for respite care, allowing caregivers to schedule breaks from the crucial work of caring for a loved one. In a similar vein, an additional $58 million is being invested in long-term care (LTC) homes, representing a two per cent increase in funding for resident care.
I am pleased with the work the government has done to support seniors but your feedback is important. Please let us know how we are doing and how we might improve services or programs for you as a senior or a senior you may know in the community.
If you have any further questions or feedback, please do not hesitate to contact my office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-547-2385.
This website is provided for your convenience. If you'd prefer to call or email, my staff and I would be happy to hear from you.
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