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One in four Canadians cared for loved ones in 2012 according to Statscan, since there were then 8 million informal or unpaid caregivers. 

When the tidal wave of ten million baby-boomers reaches 80 in 2026, and even more family caregivers begin tending to their aging loved ones, almost two-thirds of Canadians will either need or provide care.  This could create a national crisis.

Caregivers are the parents of young children, mature children of aging parents, elderly parents of mature children, life-long partners or friends. They are largely unseen and unsung, often giving themselves 24/7 and to the end.

Yet supports for them are inconsistent across Canada and frequently inadequate.  Indeed, since organizations serving needy individuals may overlook their family caregivers, they often leave them to fend for themselves.  

That's why we are asking the Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos and the new Minister for Seniors, Filomena Tassi, to throw caregivers a lifeline.  We call for federal legislation and programs to support caregivers across Canada as part of its overall effort to accommodate an aging population.  As the ministers responsible for seniors and their families, Ministers Tassi and Duclos can ease their emotional, physical, and financial loads by making caregiver support a key part of their action plans.

They can begin by following the recommendations of the Canadian Association for Retired Persons (2014). These included funding for (1) home care, (2) training and coaching to deal with the medical system, (3) caregiver workplace protection,(4) enhanced tax credits, and (5) insurance for long-term caregiving.

In addition, they can ensure that consistent and adequate supports are available across the country for (1) respite care and stress-management, (2) navigating legal and educational systems, (3) life planning and (4) social networking. National standards will ensure supports for caregivers, not just their loved ones, and promote fairness.  Indeed, they will help fulfill the ministers' mandates to provide "more direct help to those who need it", and in the process avert a national crisis brought on by the Boomer Tsunami in 2026.

We can afford it.  Studies have shown that the unpaid work of caregivers was worth over $25 billion a year in 2012, and that's not counting the savings from caring for family members at home rather than institutions.  Since caregivers give so much of themselves, the least we can do is pay them more attention by caring for them.  

What we cannot afford is to continue neglecting informal caregivers as they burn out or drown in despair.

PM Trudeau asked his ministers to do what is smart and right.  Supporting family caregivers is both because it helps them take better care of their aging loved ones.  It also allows Canada to deserve its reputation as a compassionate society and to fulfill its 2010 commitment to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities -- those who are among the most vulnerable in our society.

We need to invite all those we know -- giving or receiving care -- to support this campaign by signing and sharing this petition as well as the promotional video posted on YouTube:

Please help to deliver a strong and clear message to Ottawa.


To read the letter sent to Ottawa, click on this link:

To read the CARP's brief, click on this link: