With tax season already upon us, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty took a break from his federal budget duties today to remind Canadians about the new Family Caregiver Tax Credit. The credit was introduced in last year’s federal budget.

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Peter Goodhand, president and CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society, said the new credit has broadened the definition of a caregiver and asked Canadians to take full advantage of their tax credits, since “they won’t work if [we] don’t use them.”

Nicole Beben of the Saint Elizabeth Care to Know Centre pointed out that smaller families, increased life expectancy and delayed retirement have pretty much guaranteed that we will all eventually qualify for the credit.

“It isn’t a matter of if we are caregivers, but when we will become one,” she said.

Along with promoting the credit, Flaherty took some time to answer questions about the Canadian and global economy.

He sought to allay fears that the federal budget will impose strict austerity measures to achieve his stated goal of balancing the books by 2016.

“We are not in a position where we need to take draconian measures. [It’s as simple as] moderating debt balancing, [and] in terms of cutting government spending, all provinces have to move in the direction of putting their fiscal houses in order,” he assured.

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With constant reminders that household debt is rising, he urged Canadians to spend wisely, pointing out that we don’t all need “the most expensive house on the block.”

 His expects the upcoming meeting of G20 Finance Ministers in Mexico will focus on the eurozone, and questioned whether “European countries have [fully] stepped up to the plate and offered all available resources.”

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