"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."

~ Niccolo Machiavelli, historian and writer

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Back in Black

Update: I've been giving a little thought to this caregiver allowance initiative. Which is, of course, a very good thing. But two thoughts come to mind:
  1. If the caregiver is in receipt of social assistance, will the allowance be counted against them?
  2. I notice that the allowance is available to caregivers with a low income. Which seems manifestly unfair to me. You may well have a high income initially but after a while, it's easy for the job (to say nothing of your emotional and physical health) to suffer. How about giving us that allowance so we can use it hire a caregiver so we can work or find some time for ourselves?

Don't get me wrong ... I am very happy to see these initiatives. But I hope all the details have been thought through by our new government, as opposed to just what the Conservatives had in place.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Okay, maybe not "in black" exactly but we are back with, at least, a few new tidbits to share.

I first noticed this a little over a month ago but better later than never, I suppose. Apparently the federal government has launched an advertising campaign to promote the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) and its matching grant and bond. Which would explain the few commercials I have heard on the radio in July, which weren't too shabbily done, I might add.

According to The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance:
“This initiative builds on our government’s ongoing work to help improve the lives of people with disabilities,” said Minister Flaherty. “Through this campaign, our goal is to help as many people as possible benefit from the savings plan and its related grant and bond.”
Unfortunately, the campaign was launched on July 6, 2009, but only ran to the end of July. Perhaps they will consider launching a second, longer one?

On a more up-to-date note, I was pleasantly surprised to see this story in Wednesday's Chronicle Herald concerning the provincial government's initiative to provide "eligible caregivers" in Nova Scotia with financial assistance which "recognizes their important role and supports their efforts to assist loved ones and friends".

To be eligible for the caregiver allowance of $400 per month, both the person who requires care and the person providing the care must meet certain program criteria.

The eligibility criteria for caregivers includes:
  • being 19 years of age or older and a Nova Scotia resident with a valid Nova Scotia health card number
  • providing 20 or more hours of assistance per week to a qualified care recipient

The eligibility criteria for care recipients includes:

  • being a resident of Nova Scotia and 19 years of age or older with a valid Nova Scotia health card number
  • having a high level of disability or impairment as demonstrated through completion of a home care assessment
  • an income review, because the allowance will only be provided to caregivers of recipients with low incomes

More information about the caregiver allowance is available on the Department of Health website. Or you can call the toll free line at 1-800-225-7225.

In other health-related news, I see that in my absence, the Province has finally launched what they refer to as HealthLink 811 which enables Nova Scotians to dial 811 24-hours a day , seven-days-a-week and be connected to "an experienced registered nurse" who, we are assured, will be able to "assess the urgency of the caller's symptoms or health condition and advise them on the next steps, such as appropriate self-care, or to seek services from a family physician or another health-care provider, or to visit an emergency department".

All calls are confidential, there is no cost to the caller and a Nova Scotia health card is not required. The HealthLink 811 service will be available in multiple languages through French-speaking bilingual nurses as well as an on-demand third-party translation service.

Apparently, this type of health line is widely used in other provinces. It's about time, eh?

One last note - you will recall that we've previously discussed Canada's refusal to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Apparently there is a new campaign underway to make economic social and cultural rights enforceable, through the Optional Protocol recently adopted by the UN but as yet not ratified by Canada. You can learn more in this letter.

That's all for now, folks. Hopefully more interesting actually legal-related stuff will soon follow.

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