My Take on the Federal Budget

FEDERAL BUDGETI haven’t written about the Federal Budget yet because I’ve had my ear to the ground listening to what everyone else has to say. First of all, I freely admit I have no idea what is good for the economy. Of course I like the RRIF and TFSA changes because my husband and I are on the cusp of retirement. But be assured that it would take alot more than a pre-election budget to change my vote.

While there is some controversy as to whether people can safely top up their 2015 TFSA contribtuions even though the legislation hasn’t passed, Jonathan Chevreau recently quoted me in Experts: go ahead and make that extra $4,500 TFSA contribution now: I just did where I said that Harper has a majority government and there is absolutely no doubt that this budget will pass.

Our only problem is trying to figure out what assets from our non-registered investments we can transfer to our TFSA without triggering a unnecessary capital gain (a good problrm I know).

But the other Budget announcement I want to talk about is the quadrupling of the EI compassionate care benefits from 6 weeks to 6 months. First of all, unless the provinces play catch up before January 2016 in their labour standards legislation, people who take this leave may not have a job to go back to.

Also, an employee applying for benefits must be able to provide medical certification that the family member he/she is taking a leave to provide care or support gravely ill and has a significant risk of death within six months. Obtaining a certificate that a patient is likely to die within six months has been problematic in the past because some doctors and caregivers have been reluctant or unable to state that the patient is likely to pass away within the prescribed period.

As a result, it is not surprising that compassionate care benefits is the smallest program administered by EI. Statistics Canada reveals that for all of 2012-2013 $10.1 billion was paid out in regular benefits; $2 billion in special benefits (sickness, maternity, parental, adoption and compassionate care). However, there were only 6,102 compassionate care claims for an average of 4.7 weeks with total benefits paid of $11.6 million.

So the fact is, this is not a big ticket item, even if it gives you a warm fuzzy feeling like Stephen’s fuzzy vest and Laureen’s foster kittens.

That’s all for now. Time to watch the Ontario Budget and more to follow….

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