Quebec to spend $100M more on home care amid growing demand

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Quebec will spend an extra $100 million annually to boost home-care services for the elderly and other Quebecers with reduced autonomy, the health minister announced Sunday.

The province was already facing increased demand for home-care services due to its rapidly aging population. That demand increased during the pandemic, which has killed more than 4,000 residents in government regulated long-term care homes.

"Home care is what people want, and they want it even more because of the pandemic," Health Minister Christian Dubé said at a news conference in Montreal.

Quebec had initially budgeted $1.7 billion this year for home care for seniors.

The bulk of the new money — $65 million — will go toward funding services offered by regional health authorities. The balance will go toward salary increases for home-care workers and new equipment.

Workers hired through the government's direct allowance/service employment paycheque program will see their hourly wage rise from $14.25 to $16. Workers hired through domestic help businesses will also get a $1.75/hr raise.

Though elderly Quebecers will likely be the main beneficiaries of the added funding, those taking care of people with significant physical and mental disabilities will also have access to more home-care offerings.

Dubé said the funding will mean around 1,500 additional people will be able to receive home care, and those already receiving services will get more hours of care.

More than 370,000 Quebecers receive home-care sevices.