September 26, 2018 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

More than 5.6 million Canadian employees have adult/elder care responsibilities while 35% of these people are also simultaneously employed. A lack of workplace support can result in caregiver-employees (CEs) missing work days, taking early retirement or leaving the workforce altogether.

The gendered nature of both family caregiving and the labour sector has given rise to a new project, Mobilizing a Caregiver-Friendly Workplace Standard: A Partnership Approach. The project has recently received a grant for $1.5 million from CIHR/SSHRC, via The Healthy Productive Workplace – Partnership Development Grant (HPW-PDG).

With involvement from Dr. Bharati Sethi, Assistant Professor in King’s School of Social Work, the project’s goal is to scale up and mobilize, through various knowledge mobilization strategies, the Canadian Standards Association Carer-Inclusive and Accommodating Organizations Standard (B701-17).  The standard and an accompanying implementation guide, were published last spring. 

The standard could be used by various groups from across the labour spectrum (including employees, human resources, unions and government agencies) and society in general to better accommodate CEs in meeting the multiple demands of both paid employment and unpaid caregiving.

Dr. Allison Williams from McMaster University’s School of Geography and Earth Sciences is the Principal Investigator on the multi-site grant. Dr. Sethi is one of the co-investigators and Principal Investigator of the London site.

The London site project will strive to make the CFW Standards as inclusive and accommodating as possible by considering gender, ethnicity, and sexuality diversity, according to Dr. Sethi. This Community-Based Participator Research Project (CBPR) will explore the experience of immigrant CEs working in paid employment and providing informal caregiving both within and, as part of transnational caregiving, which is the provision of care by family relations and friends beyond Canada’s borders.

“I was very excited especially since I have been trying to get a transnational caregiving project funded for a few years. It is a growing area but very little is known about this concept and how transnational caregiving impacts caregiver employees in academia and in the community,” Dr. Sethi says.

Dr. Sethi further explains that, in addition to submitting the project goals and a budget to Dr. Williams, she developed partnerships and gained commitments for the grant from London community partners including Merrymount: Family Support and Crisis Centre, London InterCommunity Health Centre, Cross Cultural Learner Centre, Nokee Kwe Native Learning Centre, and WIL Employment Connections. She also received a support letter from Dr. Joseph Michalski, Associate Professor/Associate Academic Dean, on behalf of King’s.

“I was very grateful to the community partners as without collaboration, success of partnership grants is not possible,” Dr. Sethi says. She adds she is planning to set up an advisory committee so the community partners can meet with Dr. Williams. “That is an opportunity to thank them for their time and commitment and discuss the five year research plan.”

We wish Dr. Sethi continued success on this important research and work.