A Canadian Carer Strategy

This report is presented by the: Canadian Cancer Action Network, Canadian Home Care Association and Carers Canada.

Across the country, millions of Canadians take on an unpaid caring role to support someone with a diminishing physical ability, a debilitating cognitive condition or a chronic life-limiting illness. While providing care for loved ones, friends and neighbours is not a new concept, today’s context of caring is very different. Social and economic conditions have changed significantly. The family unit is growing smaller, more diverse and dispersed. Employment opportunities and expectations are changing, with more women entering the workforce and more individuals delaying retirement. At the same time, the factors driving change to our health care system are undeniable and mounting. An aging population, increasing in life expectancy, rise in chronic and life limiting illness and shortages in health human resources are shifting care from institutions to care within the home. In light of these socio-economic changes, carers are stepping up to provide care and fill the gap in our publicly funded health care system. For many carers, this can mean juggling their work, personal and caring responsibilities, often at the cost of their emotional, physical and financial status.

To this end, we began our collaboration in 2013 through the Mobilizing Action: Family Caregivers in Canada project to bring cohesion to pan-Canadian efforts and accelerate actions that will enhance the well-being of Canadian carers. We are pleased to see the great strides that have been made on developing legislation, policy and programs to better meet the needs of carers. This report has been developed to showcase the progress made and outline the policies and practice initiatives that support carers across the country. 

Through this report, we aim to further identify opportunities for broader pan-Canadian collaboration and build on each other’s efforts to achieve measurable outcomes and values for patients, carers and our society as a whole. In doing so, we hope to continue the momentum in creating the necessary changes for a compassionate and caring society, one that fully recognizes and respects the valuable role of carers. Please link to the report here.