Policy alert

Jack Layton promises new family care initiatives.

Under the program, families hoping to build a self-contained, add-on unit for an elderly relative would be entitled to a forgivable loan that would cover half the cost of renovations up to a maximum of $35,000. Mr. Layton also promised to extend EI benefits for people looking after a dying relative to six months — up from six weeks — and to introduce a new, up-to-$1,500-a-year caregiver benefit to help struggling low and middle class families who are looking after a sick or injured loved one. He further vowed to close the loophole that prevents Canadians who have accessed maternity, adoption, sick or other leave from accessing regular EI benefits should they lose their jobs when they return.

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