This is an article written in September 2013 by Martin Turcotte for Statistics Canada.


What types of caregivers provide the most hours and kinds of care? Which ones are the most likely to experience various consequences associated with family caregiving? This article compares the different types of family caregivers, based on the relationship with their primary care receiver.

  • In 2012, 8 million Canadians, or 28% of the population aged 15 and over, provided care to family members or friends with a long-term health condition, a disability or problems associated with aging.
  • Among these family caregivers, 39% primarily cared for their father or mother, 8% for their spouse or partner, and 5% for their child. The remaining (48%) provided care to other family members or friends.
  • Among regular caregivers—those who spent at least 2 hours caregiving each week—38% of those who helped their child, 34% who helped their spouse and 21% who helped their parents reported feeling depressed. Those who cared for a spouse or child also reported more health and psychological problems, mainly because of the intensity of care provided.
  • Among regular caregivers, 28% who cared for a child and 20% who cared for a spouse experienced financial difficulties as a result of their caregiving responsibilities. This proportion was 7% among those who regularly helped their parents.
  • In 2012, 30% of caregivers of children received government financial assistance, compared with 14% of caregivers of spouses and 5% of caregivers of parents. However, 52% of caregivers of children, 42% of caregivers of spouses and 28% of caregivers of parents would have liked more help than they received.