Joyce Murray, Vancouver-Quadra (BC)

COMPASSIONATE CARE BENEFIT

The Liberal Party of Canada is committed to building an accessible and inclusive society for all Canadians.

We will introduce a more flexible and accessible Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefit, so that six months of benefits are available to those who are providing care to a seriously ill family member.

We will work with the provinces and territories to assess how successfully the Employment Insurance system is delivering its core mandate to provide income security to workers in a changing labour market. This will result in changes to the program that ensure more Canadian workers, particularly those in more insecure work, can get access to the benefits they need. We will make the appropriate legislative and policy changes to ensure that Employment Insurance contributions are only used to fund Employment Insurance benefits and programs, and are not used by the government to fund other programs.

Our enhancements to Employment Insurance will apply to the 2017 calendar year.

DISABILITY ISSUES

Canadians with disabilities continue to face significantly higher rates of poverty and unemployment and unequal access to goods and services, including government services. We believe the federal government must work in concert with provinces and territories, as well as with Canadians with disabilities and their advocates, to build a truly equal society without barriers to participation.

The Liberal Party has a strong record of supporting Canadians with disabilities. It was a Liberal government that invested in employment and income supports for disabled Canadians, broadened eligibility for the Disability Tax Credit, and expanded the list of disability supports allowable under the Disability Supports Deduction. The Conservative government has paid lip service to the needs of Canadians with disabilities, claiming publicly to be acting yet failing to meet major pledges. Four years after ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Conservatives have yet to implement it.

The Liberal Party of Canada pledges to fully implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and take substantive action to address the barriers faced by Canadians with disabilities.

We also know that too many Canadians are forced to leave their jobs and drain their savings to provide essential care to ailing loved ones. Not only is the current system unfair, but it hurts our economy. That is why in addition to cutting taxes for the middle class and creating a larger Canada Child Benefit, a Liberal government will make care-giving benefits available to any Canadian providing care to a seriously ill family member. We will also make the program more flexible by allowing the six-month benefit to be claimed in blocks of time over a year-long period. Our plan will make a real difference for those who need it most by providing caregivers with the financial support and job security they need during these especially difficult times. Our caregiving benefit is an investment of $190 million per year and will require no increase in Employment Insurance premiums. We also support the Registered Disability Savings Plan.

Liberals also understand the challenges facing many family members of Canadians with disabilities who often face additional constraints when it comes to balancing work and caring for their loved ones. That is why Liberals put forward a plan to give Canadians the flexibility to schedule their time in a way that works best for their families.

Leading by example, a Liberal government will amend the Canada Labour Code to provide every federally regulated worker with the legal right to make a formal request to their employer – without fear of reprisal – for more ?exible working conditions, including ?exible start and ?nish times, and the ability to work from home.

Similar to the system in place in the United Kingdom, employers will be required to formally respond to such requests. In the UK, the vast majority of applications have been granted.

We will also work with interested provinces and territories so that they can offer the same rights to workers under their jurisdiction.

Canadians deserve a government that understands the needs of modern working families. A Liberal government will deliver real change that grows our economy while helping families spend more quality time together.

PHARMACARE

In regards to your questions relating to Pharmacare: I agree that the cost of prescription drugs is becoming increasingly expensive and therefore inaccessible for Canadians. This being said, I can assure you that a Liberal government will work with the provinces to lower drug costs.

Liberals have committed to meeting with the premiers to talk about how to strengthen health care by making measurable progress on the issues that matter to Canadians like wait times, the affordability of prescription drugs, and the availability of homecare.

For more information on Liberal health policy, please visit: http://www.liberal.ca/realchange/?search=health

Thank you again for your email, and your commitment to good public policy.

Best regards,

Joyce Murray, Liberal Candidate
Vancouver-Quadra