Analyzing Provincial Supports for Family/Friend Caregivers: A Comparison of the Manitoba Primary Caregiver Tax Credit and the Nova Scotia Caregiver Benefit

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O'Hara, Megan
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Mount Saint Vincent University
As Canada’s population continues to age, provincial/territorial governments will increasingly rely on the work and support of family/friend caregivers. Family/friend caregivers often experience financial, emotional physical and social stresses that can be directly related to their role as an unpaid caregiver. The accumulated work of family/friend caregivers can amount to billions of dollars each year, and yet they often receive no financial assistance in return. Manitoba and Nova Scotia are two provinces who have implemented policies meant to recognize the important roles of family/friend caregivers. Through conducting an in-depth policy analysis, key informant interviews with policy experts/creators and caregiver advocates, and a secondary data analysis of the Manitoba Primary Caregiver Tax Credit and the Nova Scotia Caregiver Benefit, it was found that these supports are positive social and economic components of each provincial budget. More people access the Primary Caregiver Tax Credit in the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (which contains the province’s largest city) than in the other RHAs combined. In comparison, more people access the Nova Scotia Caregiver Benefit in the combined District Health Authorities of Nova Scotia, than in the DHA that includes the province’s largest city of Halifax. These supports were implemented as a means of recognizing and supporting family/friend caregivers during the duration of their caregiving roles. There is evidence, that such supports can prolong a caregiving relationship by helping the older adult remain in the home. In Nova Scotia specifically, it was found that relationships that receive the caregiver benefit are far less likely to end with the care recipient entering long-term care.This in turn, has the potential to save the provincial government thousands of dollars each year. Future research should consider the individual experiences and perception of caregivers receiving the benefits in each province. This research provides beginning evidence from administrative data about the role policy may play in supporting caregivers. Other provinces might benefit from
Tax Credits - Nova Scotia , Caregivers , Nova Scotia - Healthcare