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Support for Canada's family caregivers
As Canada’s population continues to grow and age it faces new health challenges, including a rising number of cancer cases. One in two Canadians is expected to receive a cancer diagnosis in his lifetime, and about 25% will die from the disease, making it our leading cause of death. This is creating a growing burden on families, healthcare providers and our country’s economy. Cancer already costs Canadians more than $17 billion per year.
In this context, it is particularly important that Canada has the policies in place to support Canadians who are coping with cancer and the people who need to take time away from work to help care for them. Family caregivers are the backbone of our healthcare system. According to data from Statistics Canada, in 2012, about 8.1 million individuals (28% of Canadians aged 15 years and older), provided care to a family member or friend with a long-term health condition, disability or aging needs.
Appropriate support for caregivers is also key if our healthcare system is to deliver more services at home or in the community, an approach that is often preferable to patients and families and that can lower the high costs associated with hospital care.