In 2009 a small group of organizations came together because they shared a common goal: to advance the interests of unpaid caregivers in Ontario, regardless of what condition the person receiving their care had. With initial seed funding from the Canadian Caregiver Coalition, the Ontario Caregiver Coalition (OCC) was born. OCC has grow over the years with contributions from supporting parnters. The Coalition now includes almost 140 members (both organizations and individual caregivers). A chronology of the Coalition's accomplishments and related information is available below.
- In February, OCC submitted a response to the government's Patients First Proposal. OCC commended the government for its' intent to involve caregivers and patients in the policy planning process but also advocated for improved accommodation of caregiver needs and challenges to make such participation possible. Many caregivers cannot afford to take time to attend meetings without adequate respite care being provided.
- OCC held a Strategic Planning Day and agreed on two priorities: a) To advance caregiver policy and program initiatives to stakeholder including partners, government and other key decision makers, and, b) To raise awareness and engage key stakeholders around identified caregiver issues and promote solutions At this meeting, it was agreed that the Advocacy & Communications committee would be split into 2 committees - Research & Advocacy and Awareness & Communications.
- Late in 2015 and early 2016, OCC joined with the Change Foundation to partner on a caregiver engagement project - The Caring Experience.
- Seeing the passage of Bill 21 to create Caregiver Leave in Ontario under the Employment Standards Act, Leaves to Help Families effective Oct 1, 2014 - http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/newleaves.php
- The Coalition supported the reintroduction of the Family Caregiver Leave Act Reintroduced as part of Bill 21, Employment Standards Amendment Act (Leaves to Help Families), 2013.
- The Coalition successfully advocated for:
- Broadening of the definition for “serious medical condition” to include chronic and episodic conditions.
- Expanding who could provide a medical certificate from physicians to any regulated health professional (ie. Nurses, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists)
- Allowing the leave to be taken in 1 day increments, rather than 1 week increments that were originally proposed.
- Conducted a survey of caregivers of older people to provide input on the Ontario Senior’s Care Strategy developed by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
- The Coalition completed a scan of caregiver support policies across jurisdictions - Survey Outcomes
- From this we developed a position paper to guide our advocacy work - OCC Position Paper 2011
- The Coalition completed a Strategic Inquiry Process to better understand the public policy issues related to caregiver supports - Strategic Inquiry Report
- The Coalition established an initial Advocacy Strategy and Plan
- The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care completed “Caring about Caregivers: Long-Range Scenario Planning”