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June 30, 2024

The State of Caregiving in Canada

Family caregivers in Canada come from all walks of life, each with unique backgrounds, circumstances, and needs. This diversity highlights the varied roles they play within their families. What do they look like? Using data from Statistics Canada, along with our latest discussion paper, this blog post looks into different dimensions of caregiving across the country, including gender differences, the involvement of young people, and the particular challenges faced by marginalized caregivers.


According to Statistics Canada, in 2022, over half of Canadian women aged 15 and above were engaged in caregiving activities. The report highlights a significant gender disparity in caregiving responsibilities, with women (32%) more likely to provide care to children than men (26%). Additionally, 23% of women cared for adults with long-term conditions or disabilities, compared to 19% of men. Unfortunately, the gender disparity in the care economy was even worse during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Being a family caregiver can take a toll on one’s physical and mental health: 56% reported feeling exhausted from their caregiving duties, and 44% felt worried and anxious in the past year. Women are more likely to experience these emotions than men.


It may surprise some that young Canadians are significantly involved in caregiving activities. As reported by Statistics Canada, in 2018, about 1 in 5 Canadians aged 15 to 30 served as caregivers, primarily for their grandparents. This early involvement has profound implications for their social lives, education, and personal development.

Gender differences also exist in the caregiving duties shouldered by young caregivers. Males (70%) were more likely to shoulder house maintenance and outdoor work than females (39%). Young women were more likely to engage in domestic chores such as cooking, cleaning, or doing laundry (62% vs. 46%), as well as managing and arranging appointments (21% vs. 10%).

Looking on the bright side, non-profit and charitable initiatives are underway to aid young caregivers in Canada. As a recipient of the Petro‑Canada CareMakers Foundation’s National Grant, the Young Caregivers Association expanded its Powerhouse program to support family caregivers aged 5 to 25 across Canada. The Association also established the Young Caregivers Knowledge Centre to help families, educators, healthcare professionals, and young caregivers connect with resources and tools supporting their well-being.


Caregivers from marginalized communities face unique challenges that exacerbate their caregiving burden. Often, these challenges are intersectional. It’s important to acknowledge their unique experiences and overlapping identities. These individuals may face systemic barriers that hinder access to necessary services and support, impacting their economic, physical, and mental well-being.

The latest CareMakers discussion paper reveals that many marginalized family caregivers do not self-identify as caregivers. This phenomenon is influenced by cultural norms and expectations, which further complicate their willingness to seek and receive support. Financial strains are particularly severe among these groups, as they often incur significant out-of-pocket expenses related to caregiving. Additionally, the lack of culturally competent care and systemic visibility in Canada’s healthcare policies further marginalizes these caregivers, underscoring the need for more inclusive and accessible caregiving support systems.

Moving Forward

While we aim to improve the caregiving landscape in Canada, it’s important to recognize the diverse needs and contributions of family caregivers. As Sylvie Lambert, Associate Professor from the Ingram School of Nursing suggested, caregivers are not a homogenous group. Each family caregiver has a unique story, influenced by numerous factors such as gender, age, culture, socioeconomic status (SES), and personal circumstances. Integrating empathetic and inclusive approaches into caregiving policies is a crucial step forward. By doing so, we enhance not only the well-being of caregivers but also the quality of care for those they look after.

Addressing these issues requires a collective effort from communities, policymakers, healthcare providers, and employers to ensure that all caregivers receive the respect, support, and resources they deserve.

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