Population Change and Lifecourse

Caregiving & Social Participation

Committee Leader - Janet Fast, University of Alberta

Research Domain

Two ‘at-risk’ groups are the focus of this thematic committee:

Governments and service providers have finite means, so they must target those most likely to experience disadvantage and develop appropriate strategies to reduce risk. Decisions about allocation of scarce resources require in-depth knowledge about the populations of concern.

Failure to target effectively has many implications: at-risk adults and those who care for them will continue to fare poorly; conditions in the labour market and workplace will continue to deteriorate; the health and continuing care, social service, and income security systems will be over-burdened. The cumulative result will be serious downstream consequences for at-risk adults, Canada’s economy, and society as a whole.

Committee Reports

Committee Activities

Policy Brief No. 5: The Social and Health Consequences of Family/Friend Caregiving
December 2011

Policy Brief No. 5: The Social and Health Consequences of Family/Friend Caregiving

The retrenchment of health care and other public support services coupled with economic and demographic changes have increased demands on family/friend caregivers. Family/friend caregivers are expected to do more with less. Yet the social and health consequences of providing family/friend care can undermine caregivers’ own wellbeing. A better understanding of these non-economic costs is important to preserving this vital resource. Using Statistics Canada’s 2007 General Social Survey (GSS), we describe the impact caregiving has on the health and social well-being of family/friend caregivers aged 45 and older in Canada.

Policy Brief No. 3: Employment consequences of family/friend caregiving in Canada
April 2011

Policy Brief No. 3: Employment consequences of family/friend caregiving in Canada

There are more than 2.3M employed family/friend caregivers in Canada. Their multiple competing demands come with the risk of such negative employment consequences as missing work days, reducing work hours or foregoing job opportunities. These care related employment consequences have economic costs for caregivers, their families and their employers. Using Statistics Canada’s 2007 General Social Survey (GSS), we describe the characteristics of employed family/friend caregivers age 45 and older in Canada and the impact caregiving has on their employment.

Policy Brief No. 2: Gender differences in family/friend caregiving in Canada
January 2011

Policy Brief No. 2: Gender differences in family/friend caregiving in Canada

Family/friend caregivers comprise the backbone of the Canadian health care system. They provide 70-80% of care to individuals with a chronic health problem or disability at an estimated value of $25-26 billion annually. For those who develop policies and programs to support the family/friend care sector, it is critical to understand the characteristics of current family/friend caregivers. Using data from Statistics Canada’s 2007 General Social Survey (GSS) on family, social support, and retirement, we describe the characteristics of family/friend caregivers age 45 and older in Canada.

Policy Workshop on Caregiving and Employment
June 17, 2008

Policy workshop on Caregiving and Employment: Moving Policy and Practice Forward

Visit and presentations by international scholars

In April 2010, the Committee invited international scholars:

  • Sue Yeandle, Director of the Centre for International Research on Care Labour and Equalities at the University of Leeds, participated in employer forum on the relationship between the demands of caregivers and their labour market outcomes in the United Kingdom in Toronto and in Edmonton.
  • Carol Bryce Buchanan from the Families and Work Institute in New York made a presentation in the same employer forum in Toronto.

2010 Socio-Economic Conference

2010 Socio-Economic Conference

Session on The Costs of Caregiving

  • Monetizing Caregivers' Lost Wages
    Donna Dosman, University of Alberta and Statistics Canada; Janet Fast, University of Alberta; Geoff Rowe, Statistics Canada
  • Child Care: Preferences and Opportunity Costs
    Roderic Beaujot, Zenaida Ravanera, and Ching Du, University of Western Ontario

Session on Social Participation

  • Participants’ Perspectives on the Use of Elder Mediation (EM) As a Support to Enhance Social Participation and Inclusion among Families Coping with Alzheimer’s and Dementia
    Judy McCann Beranger, Elder Mediation Canada, Newfoundland; Judy-Lynn Richards, University of Prince Edward Island

Poster Session

  • Comparative Analysis of the Effects of Caregiving on Hours Worked for Sandwiched Versus Non-sandwiched Caregivers
    Arianna Waye and Janet Fast, University of Alberta

4th Population, Work, Family Policy Research Collaboration

4th Population, Work, Family Policy Research Collaboration

Session on Caregivers and Economic Risks

  • “I wish that I could just get a break”: the costs of caring for adults with a disability
    Janet Fast, Norah Keating and Alison Yacyshyn, University of Alberta
  • The cost of unpaid elder care in Canada
    Marcus Hollander, University of Victoria
  • Monetizing lost wages of eldercare providers
    Donna Dosman and Janet Fast, University of Alberta

Session on Family Networks, Population Aging and Risk of Social Exclusion

  • Preventing social exclusion of the oldest-old: The importance of policies that support seniors social activities of daily living and their social inclusion
    Susan Sverdrup-Philips, University of Western Ontario; Judy-Lynn Richards, University of Prince Edward Island and UWO; Heather Spiegel, Heather Maddocks, University of Western Ontario
  • Rural Canadian seniors’: Access to social and support networks
    Lori Weeks, University of Prince Edward Island; Robin Stadnyk, Dalhousie University; Norah Keating, & Jennifer Swindle, University of Alberta,
  • The changing family networks of elderly in the next 25 years –How Europe is different from Canada
    Jacques Légaré, Université de Montréal; Joëlle Gaymu, Institut national d’études démographiques; Samuel Vézina, Marc-Antoine Busque, Universite de Montreal; Yann Décarie, Université de Sherbrooke; Janice Keefe, Mount Saint Vincent University,

3rd Population, Work, Family Policy Research Collaboration

3rd Population, Work, Family Policy Research Collaboration

Session on Perspectives on Formal and Family/Friend Care

  • Understanding Aging and Disability Perspectives on Home Care: Uncovering Facts and Values in Public Policy Narratives and Discourse
    Phillip G. Clark, University of Rhode Island
  • A Comparative Analysis of Costs to Government for Home Care and Long term Residential Care Services, Standardized for Client Care Needs
    Marcus Hollander , Hollander Analytics, and Neena Chappell, University of Victoria,
  • Equity Matters: Doing Fairness in the Context of Family Caregiving
    Bonnie Lashewicz, Grant MacEwan College, Gerald F. Manning, University of Guelph, Margaret Hall, University of British Columbia, and Norah Keating, University of Alberta
  • Caregiving rewards and transformations in families with children and adults with intellectual disabilities: Routes to understanding ‘invisible contributions’?
    Gordon Grant, Sheffield Hallam University

Session on Caregivers: Projecting Availability and Assessing Consequences

  • Caregivers and Retirement Congruency: Findings from a Mixed Method Study
    Áine Humble, Mount Saint Vincent University, Janice Keefe, Mount Saint Vincent University, Greg Auton, Acadia University
  • Who Will Care for the Canadian Elderly in 2017 and Beyond?
    Janice Keefe, Mount Saint Vincent University, Samuel Vézina, Universite de Montreal, Marc-Antoine Busque, Universite de Montreal, Yann Décarie, Université de Montréal and Université de Sherbrooke, and Jacques Légaré, Université de Montréal
  • The Interplay of Risk Factors Associated with Negative Outcomes among Family Caregivers: A Synthesis of the Literature
    Donna S. Lero, University of Guelph, Norah Keating University of Alberta, Janet Fast, University of Alberta, Gillian Joseph, University of Guelph, Linda Cook, Grant MacEwan College