A core focus for our Government since our election in 2006 is providing support to Canadians when they need it the most.
That is why our Government is enhancing compassionate care benefits in the 2015 balanced budget.
Compassionate care benefits, provided through the Employment Insurance (EI) program, is available to individuals temporarily away from work to care for a sick family member with a significant risk of death.
Effective January 3, 2016, Canadians will have access to an enhanced compassionate care benefit which will allow claimants to collect up to 26 weeks of benefits, up from the current six weeks. The benefits can also be taken within an expanded period of 52 weeks (up from 26 weeks) and can be shared between family members.
This will require an investment of up to an additional $37 million annually and reaffirms the Government’s commitment to helping families receive the support they need as they care for loved ones at end-of-life.
This is only one example of what the Government is doing to help Canadian families at this difficult time in their lives.
Since March 24, 2013, the Helping Families in Need Act has allowed parents to suspend the payment of their EI parental benefits if they become ill or are injured, to collect EI sickness benefits and to resume collecting the balance of their parental benefits thereafter, if needed.
In 2014, the Government allowed the same flexibility to claimants in receipt of EI compassionate care benefits or EI benefits for parents of critically ill children.
Understanding the role palliative care also plays at these times in the lives of families, between 2006 and 2013, the federal government invested more than $43 million in palliative care research through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
In addition, in 2011 and in 2013, the government committed $3 million to the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association for the development of community-integrated palliative care models and $3 million to the Pallium Foundation of Canada for palliative care training to front-line healthcare providers, respectively.
Budget 2015 includes a further $14 million over two years to support the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement. One of the Foundation’s priorities for the funding will be evaluating and disseminating data about best practices in palliative care services.
As noted by our federal health minister Rona Ambrose, our Government understands the difficult challenges faced by Canadian families when they are caring for loved ones who have fallen seriously ill and that is why the Government continues to work with provinces, territories, and stakeholders to continue to help make improvements in end-of-life care and help meet the future care preferences of Canadians.
To all those including family members, care professionals and volunteers in Kelowna-Lake Country who are helping others at this critical time in their lives, thank you. You are providing much-needed support at a difficult time and it is the most meaningful thing you can do for someone you care about.
Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country and welcomes your feedback at [email protected].
This week many of us caught a glimpse via television and the internet of the activities taking place to mark the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands and honour the more than 7,600 Canadians who sacrificed their lives during the campaign.
It is particularly meaningful given that one of Kelowna’s sister cities is Veendam, in recognition of the role played by Kelowna troops in the liberation of Holland in 1945.
On Remembrance Day we say it is our duty to remember. But of course, it is a duty we have all year round and it is important to recount the history of these events with younger generations who have no memory of the Second World War.
For this reason, I would like to share with you the following excerpt from the Veterans Affairs website (www.veterans.gc.ca) about the liberation, part of the Canada Remembers Program which encourages all Canadians to learn about the sacrifices and achievements made by those who have served—and continue to serve—during times of war and peace. I hope you and your family will enjoy learning why Canada and the Netherlands have such an enduring friendship.
The "Hunger Winter" of 1944-45 was a terrible time for the Dutch people. Food supplies were exhausted; many people were reduced to eating tulip bulbs just to try to survive. Fuel had run out and transportation was almost non-existent. By 1945, the official daily ration per person in the Netherlands was only 320 calories, about an eighth of the daily needs of an average adult. Thousands of Dutch men, women, and children perished of starvation and cold.
After three months of holding the front line in the Netherlands, the Canadians joined the final push to liberate the country. In February 1945, the First Canadian Army joined the Allies in a fierce push through mud and flooded ground to drive the Germans eastward out of the Netherlands and back across the Rhine.
In early April, the First Canadian Army began to clear the Germans from the northeast of the country. Often aided by information provided by Dutch resistance fighters, Canadian troops rapidly moved across the Netherlands, recapturing canals and farmland as they drove for the North Sea. Canadians also began to advance in the western Netherlands, which contained the major cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. British and Canadian forces cleared the city of Arnhem in just two days by fighting a house-by-house battle. Only days later, they cleared Apeldoorn.
Canadian forces were prepared to continue their push in the west of the country, however, there were concerns this would prompt the now-desperate Germans to breach all the dykes and flood the low-lying country. To ease the pressure, and allow for a truce in late April, the Canadian advance in the western Netherlands came to a temporary halt. This allowed relief supplies to reach Dutch citizens who had almost reached the end of their endurance. To show their appreciation to the Canadians who air-dropped food during this time, many Dutch people painted, “Thank you, Canadians!” on their rooftops.
Through the hard work, courage and great sacrifices of Canadian and other Allied soldiers, the remaining German forces in the country surrendered on May 5, 1945, finally liberating all of the Netherlands. All German forces would surrender May 7, 1945. The next day was declared Victory in Europe (V-E) Day.
From the fall of 1944 to the spring of 1945, the First Canadian Army played a major role in the liberation of the Netherlands and its people who had suffered terrible hunger and hardship under the increasingly desperate German occupiers. The warm friendship that Canada still enjoys with the Netherlands is a poignant reminder of the ultimate sacrifice made by thousands of Canadians and the enduring gratitude of the Dutch in ending the reign of tyranny in their country.
The Honourable Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country and welcomes your feedback at [email protected].
On April 22 Finance Minister Joe Oliver tabled the 2015 federal budget (budget.gc.ca). This is the 10th budget tabled since I was elected to serve the fine folks of Kelowna-Lake Country and I am pleased to say it contains positive news.
First, it is a balanced budget.
Secondly, Canadians are enjoying the lowest overall federal tax burden in more than half a century.
We have achieved this while transfer payments to the provinces and territories for healthcare, education, and social programs remain at historic highs and all of the jobs lost during the recession have been recovered – along with more than 1.2 million net new jobs.
Budget 2015 notes these achievements and more while delivering additional tax savings and benefits.
100 percent of lower income, single parent, and middle class families with children are benefitting from increased benefits through the expanded Universal Child Care Benefit. In addition to our new Family Tax Cut and lower personal income tax, it is estimated that a typical two earner family of four is now realizing an extra $6600 in savings.
Seniors living in Kelowna-Lake Country will benefit from Budget 2015 with the reduction in the minimum withdrawal for Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs).
Seniors and persons with disabilities will also appreciate the introduction of the Home Accessibility Tax Credit to help with renovation costs to make homes safer and more accessible.
The national seniors’ organization CARP also praised Budget 2015 for almost doubling the Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) from $5,500 to $10,000.
This is a popular program for Canadians at all income levels who actively save for retirement, a new home, or education. Nearly 11 million Canadians use a TFSA, more than 80% with incomes less than $80,000.
Both seniors and families will welcome the expansion of compassionate care benefits under the EI program from 6 weeks to 6 months to help provide caregiving to loved ones when they need it the most.
Small business owners and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business are giving Budget 2015 an “A” for its plan to reduce the small business tax rate over the next four years. Once fully implemented, our government will have cut small business taxes by almost 50%, helping businesses grow and create jobs.
For those in our tourism sector, more money will be invested to attract US visitors to Canada, including the Okanagan. Extension of the electronic travel authorization eligibility to low-risk travellers from countries like Mexico will be good news for those who rely on clients from these countries.
And for our hardworking mayors and council, who are responsible for municipal infrastructure, the new, permanent Public Transit Fund, praised by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, along with the Gas Tax Fund and the New Building Canada fund, assures stable, predictable infrastructure funding over the long-term.
Budget 2015 and the ongoing strong fiscal leadership of this government means Kelowna-Lake Country taxpayers can look forward to balanced budgets, low taxes, job creation and Canada’s economic stability for years to come.
When I get the chance to spend a week or two working back in the riding, as I currently am during Easter break, I like to touch base with companies that impact our local economy to see how they are doing.
Recently I sat down with Michael J and Katie from Big White, Pilar Portela CEO of Accelerate Okanagan, and Anne Denman Managing Director for Bardel Entertainment, one of the leading animation firms in North America.
Part of our discussion was about a newly completed study, which confirms what we have suspected for some time; our local tech sector is successfully competing with the best in the world.
The Economic Impact Report released by Accelerate Okanagan shows that in 2013, the Okanagan tech industry contributed over one billion dollars to our local economy.
The report also confirms that the tech industry is a major source of employment, attracting a younger, well paid workforce to the community, as well as providing high-skilled employment opportunities for many of our young graduates.
According to the report 558 local technology businesses collectively employ a workforce of 6551 employees, with one quarter of the workforce represented by women.
However, a shortage of skilled workers poses a real challenge to our tech sector, as employers compete with companies around the world to attract the best and brightest.
Accelerate Okanagan and companies like Bardel Entertainment believe Big White can play an important role because the top notch activities and amenities offered by Big White are an attractive incentive to employees looking not only for a great job, but also a good quality of life.
Creative, innovative thinking like this is what makes the Okanagan such a great place to do business. I want to thank talented and committed folks like Anne, Pilar, Michael J, Katie, and all the other unsung heroes who continue to look for ways to attract the best and brightest to the Okanagan, support our local economy, and showcase the Okanagan to the world.
Canada 150 Circulation Coin Design Contest
To celebrate Canada’s upcoming 150th anniversary, the Royal Canadian Mint is inviting Canadians to design the 5-cent, 10-cent, 25-cent, one-dollar and two-dollar coins that will circulate in 2017.
The contest is open until April 30, 2015.
Designs should relate to one of five designs:
- Our Wonders (Canada’s beauty, from nature to monuments)
- Our Character (Values or principles which define Canadian identity)
- Our Achievements (Discoveries, exploration or victories)
- Our Passions (From culture to sports, to pastimes)
- Canada’s future (this category is reserved for Canadians 12-years of age and under for the 25-cent coin)
The winning design per category will be selected by Canadians in an online vote in September 2015. Each circulation coin denomination will feature one of the winning designs in 2017.
To enter a design and to obtain full contest rules and regulations, please visit www.mint.ca/canada150.
Good luck everyone!
On a final note, I hope you all have a great Easter break. I am in the riding until April 17th so please don’t hesitate to contact my office at [email protected] or by calling 250 470-5075 if you wish to meet.
Read more MP Report articles
- Local women shine in National spotlight Mar 14
- Tax time Feb 28
- Supporting local organizations Feb 14
- Opportunity for small businesses Jan 31
- Gov't supports jobs for students Jan 10
- New measures to fight AIS Dec 20
- The Canada Job Grant Nov 29
- Assistance for Veterans & CAF personnel Nov 15
- Buy a poppy & support our veterans Nov 1
- Back in the Riding Oct 18
- Funding innovative research Oct 4
- Talking about suicide prevention Sep 20
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