In Focus 2020: Caregiving and Care Receiving in Canada

Caregiving is a near-universal family experience, and at some point in our lives, most of us will provide care to a family member or friend with a long-term, physical or mental disability or problem related to aging (and receive care ourselves).

Family caregivers make significant contributions not only to the lives of those receiving care, but also to workplaces, communities and society as a whole. With demographic trends projecting continued population aging and low fertility rates (i.e. more people requiring care combined with fewer people in households to provide care), the role and impact of family caregivers will likely grow in the years to come.

On January 8, 2020, Statistics Canada published new data from the 2018 General Social Survey (GSS), which provides a statistical glance at family caregivers in Canada. This is the first of several GSS-based publications to come in their Care Counts series, which explores multiple facets of family caregiving across the country.


  • In 2018, nearly 1 in 4 Canadians aged 15 and older (25%, or 7.8 million), provided care to a family member or a friend with a long-term, physical or mental disability or problem related to aging.
  • In 2018, most caregivers (41%) spent 1 to 3 hours per week providing care. More than 1  in 5 (21%) spent 20 or more hours per week providing care.
  • In 2018, women represented a slight majority of caregivers in Canada (54%, compared with 46% of men).
  • In 2018, 1 in 10 Canadians (3 million people) received care from a family member or friend for a long-term health condition, a physical or mental disability or problem related to aging.1
  • In 2018, nearly 9 in 10 care recipients in Canada reported that they received care from family or friends.2
  • On average, care receivers in 2018 had about 7 hours of help per week from family or friends, and 2 hours of professional care.3
  • While this GSS data provides a valuable, up-to-date snapshot in time of current caregiving experiences, a recent study from the University of Alberta broadens the scope by identifying five distinct caregiving trajectories, each with its own traits and cumulative impacts (learn more).

Learn more about family caregiving in Canada:


  1. Statistics Canada, “Care Counts: Care Receivers in Canada, 2018,” Infographics, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 11-627-M (January 22, 2020). Link:
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.

2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

In 2015, Canada and 192 other UN member states in the United Nations General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a framework for action that includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.

This resource/blog post is associated with the following SDGs (click on the icons to see other content from the Vanier Institute on each goal):

Published on January 8, 2020
Updated on January 22, 2020

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