Regardless of whether they cared for children or adults, women were much more likely than men (42%) to provide care.
There were also significant gender differences among unpaid caregivers. Nearly one-third of women (32%) looked after or provided unpaid care to children, and almost one-quarter (23%) provided unpaid care to adults with long-term conditions or disabilities. These proportions were higher than those of men, at 26% and 19%, respectively.
A total of 6% of those providing unpaid care are considered dual caregivers (also known as "sandwich caregivers"); that is, they are caring for both children and care-dependent adults at the same time. Women (7%) were more likely to provide dual care than men (5%).
The types of care activities provided for care-dependent adults tended to vary by the gender of the caregiver. For example, among those providing unpaid care to adults, men (61%) were more likely than women (46%) to participate in house maintenance and outdoor work.
In contrast, women were more likely than men to participate in caregiving activities that often need to be completed on a regular basis or set schedule, such as providing personal care (40% vs. 30%), scheduling and coordinating appointments for the care receiver (48% vs. 37%) and helping with medical treatments (37% vs. 30%). Women were also more likely than men to provide emotional support (83% vs. 77%).
Along with the regularity of some caregiving activities, intensity of care can be measured by examining the number of hours spent on care.
In 2022, unpaid caregivers for care-dependent adults spent a median of 8 hours per week providing care or support to adults with long-term conditions or disabilities, with women providing 10 hours of care compared with 6 hours for men.
Despite the possible rewards of being a caregiver, unpaid care often has an impact on a person's physical and mental health. Over half (56%) of all unpaid caregivers reported feeling tired because of their caregiving responsibilities, while 44% felt worried or anxious during the past 12 months.
Women were more likely than men to report negative impacts from caregiving, such as feeling tired, worried or anxious.
Population aging in Canada continues to put pressure on health and home care services, and the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of the care economy to the health, well-being, and economic prosperity of Canadians.
Many adults undertake the care of children and care-dependent adults, and their work is often invisible, but it is a crucial part of our economy and society. Statistics Canada is committed to further research on paid and unpaid care in Canada, the impacts of caregiving, and understanding the magnitude of the economic contribution of the care economy.
The Care Economy Project
As part of the content modernization of the General Social Survey Statistics Canada is developing and implementing a data strategy to define and measure the care economy. The care economy encompasses both paid and unpaid care work, which are important when estimating the total contribution of care to Canada's economy and the impacts on Canadian society. The agency has developed a conceptual framework to guide future data collection, working with national and international experts, federal departments and non-governmental organizations. To address data gaps related to the care economy, new content was added to Wave 6 of the Canadian Social Survey, covering paid and unpaid care work and the impacts of caregiving on Canadians.
For more information, contact the Statistical Information Service (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; firstname.lastname@example.org) or Media Relations (email@example.com).