This guest blog post is provided by Employment and Social Development Canada, which is responsible for developing, managing and delivering Government of Canada social programs and services.

Did you know that currently 6.1 million employed Canadians, representing 35 percent of Canada's workforce, face challenges related to balancing work with unpaid caregiving? This has an impact on their participation in the workforce, on you — their employer — and even on the wider economy.

By 2031, the demand for care could double as Canada's population ages. Employers are already experiencing impacts on their business:

  • $1.3 billion in lost productivity per year
  • Increased interruptions at work and higher rates of absenteeism
  • Higher turnover of staff, resulting in loss of corporate knowledge and experience

What happens when your employees find themselves strained from balancing their job with caring for a family member or friend, such as an aging parent with Alzheimer's disease, or a spouse with cancer?

The Government of Canada knows that this is a real and growing concern, which is why we launched the Employer Panel for Caregivers. The Panel consulted with over 100 employers across the country to find out what workplace practices employers are using to support their employees who balance work and care.

Many are showing real commitment, flexibility and creativity to address a wide range of caregiving circumstances. Their experiences are summarized in the report When Work and Caregiving Collide: How Employers Can Support Their Employees Who Are Caregivers.

What can you, as an employer, do to have a more caregiver-friendly workplace?

  • Assess the need: Use staff surveys, or informal or formal chats to find out what challenges employees face.
  • Consider the benefits to your organization and your employees.
  • Set the tone and empower your HR department to provide support and training to front-line managers.
  • Offer flexible workplace practices, such as alternate work hours or telecommuting.
  • Check out the Resource Toolbox for links to useful information, such as federal and provincial leave provisions.

Even a small change can help your employees balance their work and caregiving responsibilities, and in turn help your business prosper.

Find out more at Canada.ca/Seniors.