OCC'S Advocacy Priorities
The Ontario Caregiver Coalition is calling on the Ontario Government to support unpaid caregivers through self-directed respite options and caregiver education programs. Caregivers are also in need of income support and therefore, we recommend a caregiver allowance and a paid caregiver leave be established. We also recommend that home care client care plans include caregiver needs.
- There are 2.6 million, or over 29% of Ontarians over the age of 15 who are providing unpaid care to their family members, friends, neighbours, or others.
- Family caregivers of seniors save Canada's health and community service system $31 Billion dollars annually. There are many caregivers of individuals under 65 - however there is no data on the value of their contribution
- Ontario needs to be a leader in providing supportive programs and policies for family caregivers - the hidden backbone of our healthcare system
We are advocating to change and improve the current caregiver landscape in Ontario by:
1. Investing in more self-directed respite care: Replicate successful models of self-directed respite care that provide caregivers with more control over who provides care and when. These models of respite care allow for greater flexibility in care and are in addition to what is currently available through many types of Local Health Integration Network's (LHIN) models of community care.
2. Providing a caregiver allowance: Reduce the caregiver’s burden by compensating for their financial loss. An allowance also has the potential to reduce the likelihood for care recipients to be admitted to long term care. A preliminary study of the Nova Scotia’s Caregiver Benefit shows that the Nova Scotia caregiver benefit has reduced the probability of institutionalization by 56% that would otherwise cost the Nova Scotia health system approximately 50 million dollars.
3. Giving caregivers time off when they need it: We applaud the government for passing the Leave to Help Families Act providing up to eight weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for employees to provide care or support to a family member with a serious medical condition. However, we believe this leave should be paid and we are hopeful that the federal government will implement its' election commitment to expand compassionate care leave.