April 7, 2020 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Dr. Bharati Sethi, Associate Professor of the School of Social Work, is working with a research program Mobilizing a Caregiver-Friendly Workplace Standard: A Partnership Approach, CIHR/SSHRC Healthy and Productive Work – Partnership Grant, led by Dr. Allison Williams, Professor and CIHR Research Chair in Gender, Work & Health at McMaster University.

Dr. Williams explained this standard can be used by employers, human resource professionals, labour organizations, and employed carers to meet legal requirements and help enhance work-life balance, improve workforce retention, and reduce healthcare costs.

A copy of this standard is available to all Canadians free of charge can be found at:

Carer-Inclusive Standard for Workplaces: B701-F17 – Carer-inclusive and accommodating organizations

And the accompanying Implementation Guide: B701HB-18 – Helping worker-carers in your organization

“The idea is to really focus on how we can make workplaces more accommodating for carer-employees,” says Dr. Williams.  A carer-employee is someone working full-time and simultaneously providing care to family and loved ones, usually a spouse or elderly parent/in-law. Approximately one-quarter are also taking care of young children. Most experience “carer burden” or “carer stress” from having multiple roles, leading to mental and physical health issues.

This is the first time the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) have come together to provide $1,424,610 (2018-2023) funding for this program.

The specific issues around transnational carers will be the focus of Dr. Sethi ‘s research at King’s in a study called “Informing the Standard’s Cultural Competency: Caregiving Experiences of Immigrants and Indigenous Caregiving- Employees.”

 The Community-Based Participatory Research will look at the caregiving experiences of indigenous (English-speaking), visible minority and European (English speaking) immigrants who identify as Carer Employees (CEs) in London, Ontario.  

Transnational caregiving may involve long-distance (international) moral, emotional, and/or financial support while also working full-time. Many immigrant and refugee carer-employees often juggle two or three part-time positions, take care of family members in Canada and provide transnational care to family members back home.

“Over the last 20 years, I have provided transnational care to some of my family members. I understand the financial and emotional labour of caregiving without adequate policies to assist transnational carers balance work and informal caregiving across international borders,” says Dr. Sethi.

Dr. Sethi has employed social work student from King’s College as research assistants:

  • Summer Thorp, Second -Year Foundation Master of Social Work (research co-ordinator)
  • Lina-El-Saadi, Third- Year Undergraduate – Bachelor of Social Work
  • Robert Simms, First-Year Advanced Master of Social Work
  • Firdaus Imambaccus, First Year – Foundation Master of Social Work
  • Delmar Tobin – Trainee Research Assistant (from a partnership between King’s College and WIL Employment Centre)

Further, the following London based organizations are acting as advisory partners in this study:

  • Nokee Kwe Native Learning Centre
  • London InterCommunity Health Centre
  • London Cross Cultural Learner Centre
  • McCormick Home
  • WIL Employment Connections