Strategic Vision

Canada’s family caregivers, play a critical — but formally unrecognized — role in our society. We envision a health care system that respects and supports them. Family caregivers, like those they look after, also need assistance. With help in the form of respite, they can better sustain their invaluable caregiving activities.

About the program

Launched in 1999, the Care Renewal program funded 13 community-based projects. They tested new ways of helping family caregivers experience relief physically, emotionally, psychologically, socially and spiritually.

Knowledge building was a priority. Project leaders exchanged learnings and best practices with one another through meetings, online knowledge forums and site visits. A researcher-evaluator documented the program as well. Overall, the projects demonstrated that with relatively modest funding, innovative and effective caregiver respite is possible.

In addition to the 13 community projects, we worked with broad coalitions of health and social sector organizations. This helped to promote policy changes and improvements to service accessibility for family caregivers, including:

  • better access to user-friendly information
  • respite and flexible working conditions
  • “caregiving leaves of absence”
  • financial burden relief
  • the elimination of workforce barriers facing them

For more information about support for family caregivers, visit Care-Ring Voice Network and

Granting total: $5.4 million

Key Lessons

  • It is often difficult to identify or reach families and caregivers in need of support. Similarly, it’s a challenge to match volunteers’ needs with those of families.
  • Maintaining contact and exchanging information with key stakeholders is vital. Equally important is clearly and accurately representing the needs of individuals and families.
  • Oversight is necessary in order to:
    • determine communities’ capacity to respond to caregiver needs
    • accurately estimate the time required for individual project activities
    • respond to situations where regional needs exceed a project’s capacity to respond
  • When it comes to capacity building and policy advocacy for caregiver support, change is gradual. It is important to acknowledge incremental successes as genuine progress.
  • Respite does not need to be expensive. Caregivers often want support and recognition that does not cost much. Small things can make big differences in the lives of family caregivers.
  • Caregivers need choices in order to experience respite. The same strategies and/or support will not work for everyone.
  • Programs need to respond to the priorities and needs of both caregivers and care receivers. Caregivers feel relief when they know that the needs of the people they care for are being met.

Recent Funding & Investments

The Lighthouse

The Foundation's grant will support Le Phare's efforts to assists organizations in four regions of Quebec develop local in-home respite programs model after its own innovation program.

$ 300,000

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Plan Institute for Caring Citizenship / Tyze Personal Networks

To support The Belonging Fund - a program offering subsidies to eligible charities that want to use Tyze Personal Networks.

$ 250,000

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The Lighthouse, Children and Families

Support for the In-Home Respite Program

$ 185,000

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Care-ring Voice Network

To support the expansion of the Care-ring Voice Network

$ 274,352

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Impact & Lessons Learned

Effecting Policy Change: Lessons from the Canadian Caregiver Coalition

This story describes CCCcategorys effort to find a structure and mindset that allowed it to develop a more targeted approach to advocacy. Second, it presents details from the coalitioncategorys work [...]

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This Day is for Me: Caring for the Caregivers

Describes the caregiving experience, how eight projects have tried to address respite differently, and why it is critically important for all levels of Canadian society to recognize and support the [...]

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Care Renewal: The policy implications of 13 caregiver respite projects

Identifies common themes emerging from 13 caregiver respite projects and makes policy recommendations to address the gaps they revealed.

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