Majority of Canadians Worry about Financial Impact of Caring for Sick
TORONTO, Feb. 8 /CNW/ - A large majority of Canadians - 88 per cent -
say that providing care or assistance for a family member would have a
negative impact on their financial situation, according to a poll
released today by the Canadian Cancer Society. And of those 88 per
cent, 57 per cent say it would have a major negative impact.
Poll results also show that:
women would likely be the primary family caregiver, with 70 per cent
saying they would take on this role (compared to 58 per cent of men).
Yet women are the least likely (37 per cent) to be able to take unpaid
time off work to provide support to a family member (compared to 59 per
cent of men).
84 per cent of Canadians say increased financial support for family
caregivers should be a priority healthcare issue in the next federal
"Many caregivers suffer financial difficulties as they deplete personal
savings and take unpaid time off from work to care for a family
member," says Dan Demers, Director, Public Issues, Canadian Cancer
Society. "Canadians are greatly concerned about this issue and are
looking to our federal political parties for solutions."
This is an issue that demands action now as Canada's population is aging
and increasingly Canadians will be caring for loved ones who have
cancer and other serious illnesses.
"Currently some government support exists for family caregivers, but
it's simply not adequate," says Demers. "We urge the government to pay
attention to the clear messages being sent by Canadians and to include
more financial support for family caregivers in the upcoming federal
As political parties prepare for the next federal election, the Society
will be reminding them that caregiving is an important family issue and
financial support for caregivers should be included in their election
"This would show Canadians - especially women who are affected most by
this issue - that politicians are listening to their concerns," says
Demers. "Canadians should consider voting for the party that commits to
providing more support for family caregivers. An effective and
compassionate society helps families who are caring for sick loved
The Society has been advocating for better financial support for family
caregivers through improvements to the Compassionate Care Benefit,
which is administered by the federal employment insurance program.
These improvements include:
Timeframe for financial benefits: Increase the benefit period from the current six weeks to 26 weeks,
accessible during a 52-week period.
More flexibility: allow people to claim benefits for partial weeks taken over a longer
period, rather than blocks of weeks at a time.
Revise eligibility criteria: change the terminology for people eligible for benefits from
"significant risk of death" to "significant need of caregiving due to a
life threatening illness."
Amend the Canada Labour Code to protect the jobs of caregivers.
The Society also believes that a non-taxable, monthly Family Caregiver
tax benefit should be established to help family caregivers with costs.
Snapshot of Canadian family caregivers
The following information comes from reports about caregivers and
In 2009, the economic contribution of family caregivers in Canada was
estimated to be between $25-26 billion.
41 per cent of family caregivers used their personal savings to survive.
Between 2002 and 2007 the number of family caregivers in Canada, aged 45
years and older, increased by 30 per cent (over 670,000 people). In
2007, the number of family caregivers, aged 45 years and older, was 2.7
65 per cent of households with a caregiver report a combined income of
less than $45,000 and 23 per cent reported less then $20,000.
The Canadian Cancer Society fights cancer by doing everything we can to
prevent cancer, save lives and support people living with cancer. Join
the fight! Go to www.ifightcancer.ca to find out how you can help. When you want to know more about cancer,
visit our website at cancer.ca or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.
About the poll
From January 21 to January 24, 2011, Pollara conducted an online survey
on behalf of the Canadian Cancer Society among a randomly-selected,
representative sample of 2,231 Canadians, aged 18 and over. As a
guideline, the margin of sampling error typically associated with a
sample of this size would be +/- 2.1%, 19 times out of 20. The results
of the survey have been statistically weighted according to Statistics
Canada's most recent Census data for age, gender, and region to ensure
that the sample is representative of the entire adult population of
SOURCE Canadian Cancer Society (National Office)
For further information:
Alexa Giorgi, Bilingual Communications Specialist, 416-934-5681