New Democrats are calling on the federal government to follow through with its promise to make a tax credit for caregivers a refundable benefit.

NDP MP Bonita Zarrillo, who is the party's critic for disability inclusion, sent a letter to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland on Wednesday calling for the change in the upcoming federal budget.

Individuals who are supporting a spouse, common-law partner or dependant with a physical or mental impairment can currently claim the credit against the federal taxes they owe.

The change would make the credit available as a benefit, regardless of whether or not they owe taxes.

"Caregiving is the backbone of Canadian society – and its economy. But we are at a breaking point for caregivers as the health-care crisis puts growing pressure on families to care for their loved ones," Zarrillo wrote in her letter.

The mandate letter that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave Freeland after the 2021 election had tasked her with converting the Canada caregiver credit to a refundable tax-free benefit.

Converting the credit to a refundable benefit would allow caregivers to receive up to $1,250 a year.

Earlier this month, the House of Commons finance committee included the measure in a list of recommendations to the government ahead of the budget, which is set for March 28.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 16, 2023.

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