A Profile of Family Caregivers in Ontario

A Profile of Family Caregivers in Ontario

Over the last decade, health care in Ontario has increasingly become more community- and home-based. However, even though options exist for individuals to manage their own care at home, a family member or friend is also likely acting as caregiver throughout the health care journey.

A Profile of Family Caregivers in Ontario, an in-depth review of Ontario-specific data from Statistics Canada’s 2012 General Social Survey (GSS), is a first step in better understanding the province’s family caregivers. The data help to paint a more complete picture of family caregivers in a number of key demographic categories, including gender, health, and socio-economic status. More importantly, the data also shed light on some of the reasons why family caregivers provide care, the types of activities associated with the caregiving role, and the impacts these activities have on the lives of family caregivers.

Among the report’s key findings from the GSS data include:

  • An estimated 3.3 million Ontarians, 29% of the provincial population, are family caregivers.
  • 53% (1.8 million) of caregivers are women and 47% (1.5 million) are men.
  • Nearly three in 10 caregivers perform medical treatments such as tube feedings, wound care and injections.
  • 2.5 million Ontario caregivers are balancing caregiving duties with paid employment and of these caregivers:
    • 30% (741,000 people) were late for work or had to leave early;
    • 29% (735,000 people) missed an average of six days of work because of caregiving duties; and
    • 1% (33,000 caregivers) left their employment voluntarily or involuntarily.
  • One million caregivers said they felt they had no choice in taking on their caregiving responsibilities.

The Change Foundation hopes that by showcasing the variety of caregiving experiences as represented in the GSS data, this report on family caregivers in Ontario can serve as an important starting point for Ontario policy and decision makers for further investigation and action in supporting caregivers in their role. This data, along with the research and engagement work completed in the first year of our strategic plan, will inform the next phase of our strategic plan work.

Report and Related Resources

About the General Social Survey:

The data in this report, unless stated otherwise, comes from Cycle 26 of the General Social Survey (GSS), a Statistics Canada program made up of a series of independent, annual, cross-sectional surveys, each covering a specific topic in-depth. The GSS survey was conducted in February 2012 covering the topics of caregiving and care receiving for a long-term health condition, disability or problem related to aging. The survey was conducted over the phone, with a care receiver and a caregiver.

To find out more about the GSS, or to learn how to access the full data set, please contact Statistics Canada, or visit their website.