How we respond to the population

Based on this description of the population in need, it might make sense to establish a program to support those who are both working and providing unpaid care, especially if we don’t have enough resources to help everyone.

In 2004, the Government of Canada implemented the Compassionate Care Benefit (CCB) as part of the Employment Insurance Plan. The CCB provided for up to six weeks of financial assistance and job security for people needing to take time off work to care for or support a family member at risk of dying within the next six months. Before the CCB was launched, the federal government estimated that 270,000 caregivers would use the benefit annually. In other words, those who designed the program knew it would not help everyone, but they felt that it could help many caregivers.

But the response to the CCB proved disappointing. In the first year of the program, only 3,686 people received the CCB (Osborne & Margo, 2005). By 2009, the number had only increased to 5,837, nowhere near the volume that had been anticipated. [1]

Why do you think more people are not taking advantage of this program? Check all the answers that you think apply.

1. Don’t need the program
2. Don’t want the program
3. Don’t know about the program
4. Don’t understand the program
5. Have no one to help them fill out the forms
6. Aren’t providing care for someone who is dying
7. Don’t qualify for employment insurance
8. All of the above

[1] Source: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC). (2009). Annex 2.12 – Compassionate Care Benefits. Retrieved April 19, 2011, from

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