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Report from the Employer Panel for Caregivers

The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), announced today the release of the Employer Panel for Caregivers’ report called When Work and Caregiving Collide – How Employers Can Support their Employees Who Are Caregivers. The report highlights best workplace practices that many employers offer to their employees who provide informal care to family and friends, and it includes a toolbox of valuable information and resources for employers.

The Minister, together with the Panel Chair, Stephen Shea, and Panel members, made the announcement the day before the 2015 Human Resources Professionals Association Annual Conference, which is taking place January 21 to 23 in Toronto.

Following Economic Action Plan 2014, the Minister launched the Canadian Employers for Caregivers Plan and established the Employer Panel for Caregivers to consult with employers on workplace practices that support the needs of employees caring for a loved one. The Panel consulted over 100 employers from across Canada before releasing its findings and insights contained in the report.

Helping employees balance work with their caregiving responsibilities will have a positive impact on the Canadian economy by decreasing costs, such as impact on job performance, absenteeism and productivity, for their employers, .

Quick Facts

  • There are currently 6.1 million employed Canadians, or 35 percent of our workforce, providing care to a family member or friend.
  • According to the Conference Board of Canada, the annual cost of lost productivity to Canadian employers is $1.3 billion.
  • Informal caregiving refers to unpaid care provided to a family member or friend due to chronic or long-term illness, disability or aging and does not include short-term care for minor illnesses such as colds or flu, or everyday caring for children.
  • In addition to the creation of the Canadian Employers for Caregivers Plan, the Government of Canada offers unpaid family caregivers a variety of supports, including tax credits such as the Family Caregiver Tax Credit, targeted measures for specific populations (i.e. veterans and military forces), the Information for Caregivers portal on the website and funding for research and community-based initiatives.



“I would like to thank the Employer Panel for Caregivers for their comprehensive report providing employers with best practices, tools and resources to support their employees who are balancing both work and caregiving. Supporting a flexible workplace benefits both the employee and the employer by increasing productivity and reducing absenteeism. Through the Canadian Employers for Caregivers Plan, our Government is committed to helping employees participate in the workforce and care for their loved ones.”
The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors)

“On behalf of the Employer Panel for Caregivers, I would like to say it was a pleasure to engage and consult with employers on a topic which presents unique circumstances for both employers and employees. We are hoping this report can help to raise awareness of this issue and that the information and tools provided in the report can assist small, medium and large-sized organizations to better support the growing number of employees balancing work and caregiving.”
Stephen Shea, Chair of the Employer Panel for Caregivers


Associated Links

Report from the Employer Panel for Caregivers
Canadian Employers for Caregivers Plan
Panel Members

Information for Caregivers


The Panel

The Employer Panel for Caregivers is comprised of industry leaders from small, medium and large-sized businesses, as well as expert advisors on caregiving. The Panel consulted with over 100 employers from across Canada. During these consultations, employers identified promising workplace practices that support the needs of working caregivers to help them balance the competing demands of caregiving while working, such as conflicting working hours, lack of flexibility and lost wages or benefits.

Some statistics

Many caregivers struggle to balance their work and care responsibilities, resulting in negative employment consequences.  For example, in 2012:

  • nearly 600,000 employee caregivers indicated in the General Social Survey that they reduced their regular working hours over the past 12 months;
  • approximately 1.6 million employee caregivers took leave from work over the prior year;
  • about 160,000 caregivers turned down paid employment during the past year due to caregiving; and
  • approximately 390,000 caregivers indicated that they had to leave their job at some point in their career in order to provide care.

The Canadian Employers for Caregivers Plan also includes the development of business cases analyzing the cost-benefit of existing workplace supports and the exploration of mechanisms for sustained employer engagement in this area.

The Panel’s members

The Employer Panel for Caregivers includes the following members and expert advisors:

Panel chair:
Stephen Shea (Ernst and Young LLP)

Panel members:
Lucie Chagnon (Median Solutions)
Rachelle Gagnon (Assumption Life Insurance)
Shannon MacDonald (Johnson & Johnson Inc. Canada)
Karen Ritchie (Home Depot Canada)
Caterina Sanders (Habanero Consulting Group)

Expert advisors:
Vickie Cammack (Founder, Tyze Personal Networks)
Janice Keefe (Nova Scotia Centre on Aging, Mount Saint Vincent University)

More information

The Panel’s report is available on Additional information and resources for caregivers are provided on the Information for Caregivers portal on the site.



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