Canadian Cancer Society Applauds New $40 Million Federal Government Caregiver Tax Credit

23 February 2012

Toronto -

The Canadian Cancer Society and other Canadian organizations came together today to applaud the federal government for its new Family Caregiver Tax Credit. The tax credit, which came into effect on January 1, allows family caregivers taking care of an ill family member to claim an enhanced amount for a dependant under one of the existing dependency-related tax credits. A 2007 survey showed that 23 per cent of Canadians have cared for a family member or close friend with a serious health problem in the last year.

The new tax credit could translate into as much as $300 per family for 2012.

The Canadian Cancer Society has been advocating on behalf of caregivers for more than 10 years and in fact launched a campaign during the last federal election to remind all politicians on this issue. “The Harper government has taken an important first step towards supporting family caregivers, the invisible backbone of Canada’s healthcare system,” says Dan Demers, Director, Public Issues, Canadian Cancer Society. “Family caregivers give so much to support their loved ones and it’s unacceptable that they also have to deal with financial difficulties at such a difficult time”.

Better support for family caregivers is an urgent issue because the country’s population is aging and increasingly Canadians will be caring for loved ones who have cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.

“This is very welcome news for families with an ill family member,” says Lori Synes-Taraba, who cared for her infant son Brock at home while he went through cancer treatments (Brock is now 14 and doing well). “It’s a very stressful and emotional time for families that is made even worse if money is running out.”

Nadine Henningsen, President, Canadian Caregiver Coalition says: “We are pleased to see the federal government maintaining its commitment to family caregivers by mitigating their financial burden through this program. The intensity and length of care-giving can be significant, with 60 per cent of caregivers providing care for more than three years. Additionally, 41 per cent of Canadians use personal savings to support themselves when caring for loved ones and 22 per cent of these individuals miss one or more months of work.”

Other organizations supporting the new tax credit include the Canadian Caregiver Coalition, the ALS Society of Canada, the Alzheimer Society of Canada and the Canadian Paediatric Society.

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For more information concerning the Canadian Cancer Society’s commitment to caregivers and government information on the tax credit itself, visit cancer.ca.

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website www.cancer.ca or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

For more information, please contact:

Christine Harminc

Senior Manager, Communications & Media Relations

Canadian Cancer Society

Phone: 416 934-5340