The Canadian Caregiver Coalition has recently changed its name to www.carerscanada. The organization continues to be a strong voice for advocacy and awareness for Canadian carers from coast to coast. Twenty-eight percent of Canadians provide unpaid care to a family member or friend. These carers save our health care systems billions of dollars annually.
The www.OntarioCaregiverCoalition.ca initially established in 2009 continues to advocate for caregivers across the province. Some of their initiatives include lobbying the Ontario Government to support “unpaid caregivers through self-directed respite options and caregiver education programs” and providing a caregiver allowance which helps compensate for the financial loss incurred. Nova Scotia is the only province that currently provides a caregiver allowance.
They lobbied successfully for the Leave to Help Families Act, which provides up to eight weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for employees caring for a family member. My March 3, 2016 previous blog detailed the New Compassionate Care Leave, which was recently extended to 26 weeks per year.
Lobbying efforts continue to ensure that the Family Caregiver Day Bill which passed its first reading in the Ontario Legislature on November 5, 2015, will be implemented. The plan is that the first Tuesday of April (which this year is April 5) will be a designated day to acknowledge the vital contributions of family carers in Ontario who support someone with a diminishing physical ability, a debilitating cognitive condition or a chronic life-limiting illness This day would coincide with and support National Family Caregiver Day , which encourages all Canadians to pay tribute and recognize the valuable contribution of family caregivers to our lives and our society as a whole.
PS. carers should always be recognized – but perhaps a designated day is the first step towards helping to obtain their well deserved acknowledgement.
Happy Caregiver Day!