Unpaid caregiving is the hidden reality of many and is growing in importance as a public health issue.
Unpaid caregivers are the backbone of many healthcare systems across Canada. Who are they exactly? They are men and women who provide home care services to family members and friends in need of care without financial compensation. Care services could include assistance with transportation, meal preparation and clean-up, house cleaning and maintenance, laundry, personal care, and managing finances.
COVID-19 caused shortages of healthcare workers, and fear of going to emergency departments pushed family members into primary caregiving roles for their loved ones. According to an Oxfam 2020 report, those affected most by this increased caregiving work were racial and ethnic minority populations, individuals with a higher income, those with college and university education, and individuals under 55 years of age. Individuals born outside Canada and racial and ethnic minority populations also report increased caregiving work. However, the intersections of race and ethnicity, sex, age, and gender and the impact of this added unpaid care work on a caregiver’s health and well-being is not known.
The “Caregiving Across Cultures in Canada” study is underway out of the University of Toronto with numerous partners across Canada. This study aims to describe the observed inequalities in caregiver well-being across the intersections of race and ethnicity, sex, age, and gender using a cross-sectional survey design.
Are you a caregiver who is over 18 years old? Are you providing unpaid care for a family member/friend who is also over 18 years old? Are you caring for someone in their home or in your home?
Take a few minutes to participate in the Unpaid Caregiver survey to share your experience. Survey responses will help the research team at the University of Toronto to understand how race, ethnicity, sex, and gender shape unpaid caregivers’ well-being in Canada.