At some point in our lives, there is a high likelihood that each of us will provide care to someone we know – and receive care ourselves. Family members are typically the first to step up to provide, manage and sometimes pay for this care.
Families are highly adaptable and most of the time people find ways to manage their multiple work and family responsibilities, obligations and commitments. However, juggling work and care can sometimes involve a great deal of time, energy and financial resources, and employers can play an important role in facilitating this care through accommodation, innovation and flexibility.
In A Snapshot of Family Caregiving and Work in Canada, we explore some of the family realities and trends that shape the “landscape of care” across the country. This resource highlights how our family, care and work responsibilities intersect, interact and have an impact on each other.
- 28% of Canadians (8.1M) report having provided care to a family member or friend with a long-term health condition, disability or aging need in the past year.
- Three-quarters of family caregivers (6.1M) were employed at the time, accounting for 35% of ALL employed Canadians.
- Most (83%) surveyed caregivers say their experience was positive, and 95% say they are effectively coping with their caregiving responsibilities.
- 44% of employed caregivers report having missed an average 8–9 days of work in the past 12 months because of their care responsibilities.
- More than one-third of young carers (36%) arrived to work late, left early or took time off due to their caregiving responsibilities.
- Employers across Canada lose an estimated $5.5 billion annually in lost productivity due to caregiving-related absenteeism.
- Research shows that caregiving provides a variety of benefits to caregivers, including a sense of personal growth, increased meaning and purpose, strengthened family relationships, increased empathy and skill development.
Reconciling care and work requires understanding, respect and recognition from employers that sometimes an employee’s family circumstances need focused attention. Research shows that family caregivers and their employers benefit from policies that are inclusive, flexible and responsive, and when employees have a clear understanding of the process for handling individual requests for accommodation and customizing work arrangements.
For nearly all Canadians, caregiving is inevitable at some point over the course of their lives. Care is not always predictable and does not always arise outside working hours. Open communication and creative approaches to harmonizing work and care in a flexible manner benefits employees, employers, the economy and society.
Download A Snapshot of Family Caregiving and Work in Canada from the Vanier Institute of the Family.