Abstract

Industrialized nations, Canada included, face potential care crises brought about by decreasing fertility rates, increasing longevity and changing patterns of work, family life and migration. Predicted shortages of caregivers alongside the challenges of caregiving call for the identification of ways to support caregivers and facilitate and reward care work. This article identifies and expands on several key barriers to developing meaningful care policies aimed at supporting informal caregivers. Where appropriate, relevant research, practice and policy implications are discussed. To develop effective policies, it is essential to: recognize heterogeneity among informal caregivers; conceptualize informal care as part of the formal system; and use a proactive, multi-faceted and multi-level approach to supporting care work. Caregiving policies aimed at promoting and protecting the well-being of individuals, families and communities and effectively stewarding individual and collective resources are needed now and in the future.