More than eight million Canadians, or one in four, today have taken on the role as caregiver, resulting in unpaid labour equalling $25 billion.
To recognize the selfless contributions of Canada’s caregivers, the first Tuesday of April is designated as National Family Caregiver Day.
This year’s theme “Caring at Home-Recognizing Caring Canadians,” draws attention to the millions of Canadians who balance careers and caring or have solely taken on the role of caring for a loved one or friend who needs help because of a physical or cognitive condition, an injury or a chronic life-limiting illness.
“We all know someone either personally, socially or professionally who is a caregiver. Without them, our health system would be faced with increased costs in the billions of dollars. The contributions they make, monetarily, socially and emotionally are invaluable. Caregivers are often referred to as our invisible health partners. On behalf of Carers Canada, we are here to tell you that they can no longer, must no longer, be invisible,” states the Carers Canada Website.
National Family Caregiver Day also sheds light on the many challenges carers face including missing work or having to quit the labour force altogether. Many times, caregivers also face an array of emotional and physical negative consequences due to their roles.
To celebrate these everyday heroes, Canadians are encouraged to tweet their appreciation and recognition of carers and raise awareness about their roles.
Also this year, for the first time, a Canadian Prime Minister has recognized the important contributions carers make.
“Today we mark National Carers Day and celebrate the millions of caregivers in Canada who do everything they can to make life easier for those closest to them,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a statement released today.
In his statement, Trudeau outlined the various steps the government is taking to ease the burden of caregivers including the Canada Caregiver Credit, which offers support to those who need it most, and allowing qualifying family caregivers the chance to claim EI for 15 weeks when caring for an adult family member.
“Were making these changes because they’re the right thing to do for people so thank you again for everything you do to support families and loved ones from coast to coast to coast,” added Trudeau.
The Government of Canada also outlined special benefits for caregivers of veterans in the 2017 Budget. The Caregiver Recognition Benefit would provide $1,000 in non-taxable monthly benefit directly to caregivers.