In Focus 2020: Caregiver Support in Canada

Canada’s 7.8 million caregivers1 make significant contributions to families, workplaces, the economy and society, providing an estimated two-thirds of all care required at home.2 While this has a significant impact on the lives of care recipients, data from the 2018 General Social Survey (GSS) shows that providing care can also affect the caregivers themselves, particularly for those who don’t have social or financial support.

Statistics Canada’s second release in their Care Counts series – which explores multiple facets of family caregiving across the country – focuses on the help and support received by caregivers themselves. Data in this release reveals that most caregivers do indeed receive various forms of support for their caregiving, much of which comes from family and all of which has a positive impact on their well-being.


  • In 2018, seven in 10 caregivers in Canada reported that they received support for their caregiving duties.
  • In 2018, more than two-thirds (67%) of caregivers reported receiving some type of social support, which came from diverse sources, including spouses or partners, who modified their life or work arrangements to help (45%); their children (43%); and extended family (39%).3
  • In 2018, more than one in five (22%) caregivers reported receiving some type of financial support, which came from sources, including family and friends (14% – the most common source of financial support), federal tax credits (8%) and funds from a government program (6%).
  • In 2018, three in 10 caregivers (30%) reported having unmet caregiving support needs in the past year, which are associated with lower life satisfaction, higher levels of reported daily stress and worse self-reported mental health.
  • In 2018, unmet caregiving support needs were highest for those providing care to their children (50%), and were more likely to be reported by women than men (32% vs. 28%) and by immigrants than Canadian-born caregivers (38% vs. 28%), and were highest among the 35-to-64 age group (34%, compared with 28% for senior caregivers and 25% for those aged 15 to 34).
  • A recent study from researchers at the University of Guelph also found that for many employed caregivers, workplaces can actually serve as an important place of respite – a finding that challenges traditional understandings of work and leisure as separate concepts, and sheds light on the potential for new and innovative sources of caregiver support.



  1. According to the 2018 General Social Survey, approximately 7.8 million Canadians cared for or helped someone who had a long-term health condition, a physical or mental disability, or problems related to aging.
  2. Health Council of Canada, Seniors in Need, Caregivers In Distress: What Are the Home Care Priorities for Seniors In Canada? (April 2012). Link:
  3. Note: Respondents were allowed more than one response.


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