Caregivers (also referred to as Carers) are people who hold a caregiving role for another person. They are men, women, and children, and the care they provide ranges from simple to complex. The need for care can be due to diminishing physical and or cognitive capabilities, chronic health conditions, and or life-limiting illnesses.
The impact of caregiving on the person who is providing it is frequently both psychologically and physically demanding. It always has a significant impact on the caregiver.
About 25% of the Canadian workforce are also caregivers – that is one in every four workers. Fifty percent (50%) of those workers are between 45 and 65 years of age – people in their prime productivity and earning years.
The caregivers’ careers, workplaces, and co-workers are all affected by the demands those caregivers face. Caregiving can be unpredictable, which means things like the need to leave work in the middle of a project, or the day. It can mean not being able to get to work on time or at all on any given day. It always means juggling time, commitments, and energy. There are always costs involved for the caregiver which often result in financial hardship.
Human Rights legislation protects against discrimination on the basis of family status and Employment legislation provides job-protected leaves. While those are important and valuable for caregivers, they do not solve all day-to-day challenges faced by employers, caregiver employees, and their co-workers.