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Archived - Harper government launches the Canadian Employers for Caregivers Plan
June 23, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario – Employment and Social Development
The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), announced the launch of the Canadian Employers for Caregivers Plan (CECP) at the first meeting of its newly-established Employer Panel for Caregivers.
In Economic Action Plan 2014, the Government of Canada committed to work with employers on finding cost-effective workplace practices to help informal caregivers participate as fully as possible in the labour market. The Canadian Employers for Caregivers Plan includes the establishment of the Employer Panel for Caregivers, the development of business cases analyzing the cost-benefit of existing various workplace supports and the exploration of mechanisms for sustained employer engagement in this area.
Many employed Canadians also provide informal care to their aging parent, friend, or spouse. Yet, the demands of caregiving can create many challenges in the workplace such as conflicting working hours and flexibility required for emergencies.
The Employer Panel for Caregivers is comprised of industry leaders from small, medium and large-sized businesses, as well as expert advisors on caregiving. They will consult with employers across Canada to help identify successful and promising workplace practices that support caregivers who are balancing their work responsibilities with caring for a loved one ensuring a stronger workforce and more prosperous economy.
- The Panel is chaired by Kim Forgues (Home Depot Canada), and includes Panel members:
o Lucie Chagnon (Median Solutions)
o Rachelle Gagnon (Assumption Life Insurance)
o Sharene Herdman (Johnson & Johnson Inc. Canada)
o Caterina Sanders (Habanero Consulting Group)
o Stephen Shea (Ernst and Young LLP) .
Expert advisors to the Panel are:
o Vickie Cammack (Founder, Tyze Personal Networks)
o Janice Keefe (Nova Scotia Centre on Aging, Mount Saint Vincent University).
- 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, etc.
“There are currently 6.1 million employed Canadians who are providing care to a family member or friend. Our government will work with employers through the Canadian Employers for Caregivers Plan to help identify cost-effective solutions to support employed caregivers, helping them achieve a better balance of work and caring responsibilities.”– The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors)
“Our government’s top priorities are creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. That’s why this initiative builds on existing federal measures that include a range of tax credits for caregivers, the Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefit and other federal benefits.”– The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors)
“Having cared for a loved one, I know first-hand how overwhelming it can be to balance the needs of work and family. As Chair of the Employer Panel for Caregivers, I’m looking forward to reporting back to the Government on workplace supports that could help reduce the stress on informal caregivers.”– Kim Forgues, Chair of Employer Panel for Caregivers
Office of the Minister of State (Seniors)
Quick Facts about Informal Caregivers
- 8 million Canadians aged 15+ provided unpaid care to a chronically ill, disabled or elderly family member or friend in 2012
- Approximately 70 percent of all caregivers are caring for a senior, compared to 19 percent who care for someone aged 45–64; 10 percent for someone aged 18–44; and 3 percent for someone under the age of 18;
- 17 percent (1.4 million) of all caregivers provide 15 hours or more of care per week (high-intensity caregivers);
- 75 percent (6.1 million) of all caregivers are employed, representing an estimated 35 percent of all employed Canadians.
- The majority of caregivers (56 percent) are aged 45+; the majority of employed caregivers (60 percent) are also aged 45+.
Canadians balancing employment and informal caregiving face labour market challenges.
Informal caregivers are people aged 15 and over who provide unpaid care to a family member or friend with a long-term health problem or a physical or mental disability, or with problems related to aging. Informal caregiving does not include child care or parenting or care for people with minor short-term illnesses such as colds or flu. For example, informal caregiving could include caring for an elderly mother who has Alzheimer’s, or a spouse with a chronic disease such as cancer, or a son with developmental delays.
In the context of an aging society, the demand for care is expected to increase. Presently, it is estimated that the total replacement cost for unpaid care is approximately $24 billion annually. The demand for care of seniors alone is projected to nearly double by 2031.
Many informal caregivers struggle to balance their work and care responsibilities, resulting in potentially negative employment consequences. For example, in 2012, nearly 600,000 employed caregivers indicated that they had reduced their regular working hours over the past 12 months, while about 160,000 caregivers turned down paid employment during the previous year due to caregiving. Likewise, approximately 390,000 caregivers indicated that they had to quit their job at some point in their career in order to provide care.
Beyond the costs to individuals in terms of lost wages or benefits, the negative employment consequences of informal care also impact employers. The Conference Board of Canada estimates that informal caregiving costs employers $1.28 billion annually in lost productivity as a result of caregivers missing work, quitting or losing their jobs.
Evidence suggests that work-life balance initiatives can help decrease the negative consequences of caregiving to caregivers and employers. For example, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that flexible working arrangements, including telework, job-sharing, and flexible work hours, could strengthen the labour force attachment of employed caregivers. Leading firms such as British Telecom have achieved increased productivity and cost-savings by implementing flexible working arrangements and absentee rates have decreased drastically.
Government of Canada Action
In Economic Action Plan 2014, The Road to Balance: Creating Jobs and Opportunities, the Government of Canada committed to work with employers on finding cost-effective workplace practices to help informal caregivers participate as fully as possible in the labour market.
On June 23, 2014, the Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), announced the launch of the Canadian Employers for Caregivers Plan (CECP) at the first meeting of its Employer Panel for Caregivers. The Employer Panel for Caregivers, comprised of industry leaders from small, medium and large-sized businesses, as well as expert advisors on caregiving, will consult with employers across Canada to identify successful and promising workplace practices that support informal caregivers who are balancing their work responsibilities with caring for a loved one.
The Panel aims to increase awareness of employed caregivers and the challenges they face, identify workplace practices that benefit employers and caregivers alike, and share best practices among all employers.
Kim Forgues (Home Depot Canada)
Lucie Chagnon (Median Solutions)
Rachelle Gagnon (Assumption Life Insurance)
Sharene Herdman (Johnson & Johnson Inc. Canada)
Caterina Sanders (Habanero Consulting Group)
Stephen Shea (Ernst and Young LLP)
Expert advisors to the Panel
Vickie Cammack (Founder, Tyze Personal Networks)
Janice Keefe (Nova Scotia Centre on Aging, Mount Saint Vincent University)
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