A re-elected Liberal Government will invest to implement its plan to help seniors remain independent longer and have a better quality of life.
To further support independent living for seniors, and to enhance the care and support that seniors receive in New Brunswick, Gallant specified that a re-elected Liberal Government will:
- Put in place a permanent Seniors’ Navigator to help seniors access the broad range of government services;
- Invest in the Home-First Strategy which will include further increasing salaries for home support workers, better promoting the home visit and toll-free number services available to assist seniors in navigating government programs, and improving the Seniors’ Home Renovation Tax Credit so that more seniors and their families can take advantage of the program;
- Cover the costs for low-income seniors to get their prescriptions divided up in bubble packs at their local pharmacies;
- Expand the Age-Friendly Community Recognition Program to encourage more New Brunswick municipalities to take sustainable action towards implementing policies that promote healthy aging;
- Continue to implement its Aging Strategy;
- Implement the three phases of its five-year nursing home strategy, a strategy which includes 600 new nursing homes beds, over 400 new memory care beds, and over 100 million dollars in renovation to existing nursing homes;
- Hire 40 new nurses, 80 new license practical nurses, and 80 new resident attendants as part of a plan to increase the hours of care in nursing homes; and
- Develop a comprehensive strategy for the recruitment of employees in the nursing home sector and increasing the hours of care from 3.1 hours to 3.3 hours by 2022, with a further increase to 3.5 hours by 2026.
These new measures will become part of the Gallant Government’s broader strategy to provide enhanced care and support for seniors. Over the course of its first mandate, the Gallant Government:
- Created the Council on Aging;
- Developed and began implementation of a comprehensive Aging Strategy.
- Created new tax credits to help seniors renovate their homes;
- Created a new benefit for informal caregivers;
- Made new investments in affordable housing;
- Developed and began implementing the first phases of a five-year Nursing Home Plan that will see the addition of 10 new 60-bed nursing homes, representing 600 new nursing home beds, and 407 new memory care beds across the province;
- Developed and began implementing plans to invest an additional $108 million to renovate existing nursing homes;
- Twice invested to increased wages for human services workers by up to $1 per hour overall, first in 2016 and again in 2018;
- Funded a variety of research projects through the $75-million Healthy Seniors Pilot Project as a result of being recognized by the federal government as a leader in seniors’ initiatives;
- Made investments in cancer screening, hip and knee replacements, and specialized beds for dementia patients to reduce wait times and ensure healthy lives for seniors;
- Created the Tourism Employment Fund for Seniors to encourage the hiring of seniors in the tourism sector, which has the added benefit of helping tourism operators in New Brunswick extend their season into the fall; and
- Helped six more New Brunswick communities achieve age-friendly recognition, bringing the provincial total to nine. The Age-Friendly Community Recognition Program encourages the establishment of policies, services, and structures that promote healthy aging and wellness.
“The investments we are making in aging care in New Brunswick will ensure a better quality of life for seniors and their families, and they will also improve the overall delivery of health care for all New Brunswickers,” added Gallant.
Providing access to quality healthcare in all corners of New Brunswick is one of the most important public services that government provides. Through record investments and an overall health budget increase of 9.8 per cent since 2014, representing $246 million, the Liberal Government has demonstrated its commitment to quality and accessible healthcare. Beyond making significant investments to healthcare infrastructure around the province, as well as committing to maintain and improve services in rural areas, the Gallant Liberals have made other significant improvements to New Brunswick’s healthcare system:
- The hiring of over 300 new doctors, meaning over 90 net new doctors were added between 2014-2018, bringing New Brunswick’s rate of access to family doctors up to 95 percent, the highest score in the country;
- The empowerment and addition of more healthcare professionals such as nurse practitioners, advanced care paramedics, and midwives; and
- An investment of $336 million over the last four years in hospitals and equipment around the province.