Statistics Canada is studying who provides unpaid care in Canada’s care economy. In 2022 they found that 13.4-million Canadians over age 15 provided unpaid care in the past 12 months to children or to adults with a long-term condition or disability. 

Of these unpaid caregivers, 13 per cent provided care to both of these dependent groups. “1.8-million Canadians older than 15 years were sandwiched between multiple care responsibilities,” Statistics Canada researchers write in the agency’s new study, Sandwiched between multiple unpaid caregiving responsibilities.

“The study provides a detailed portrait of sandwich caregivers for the first time in nearly 20 years, including who these caregivers are, how much care they provide and to whom, and the impacts of this unpaid caregiving,” they add.

Those impacts include negative impacts on health and well-being, as well as negative impacts on caregivers’ material well-being: 86 per cent of sandwich caregivers report at least one negative impact on their physical health. This declines to 74 per cent of those caring for adults only and 62 per cent of caregivers caring for children. “In 2022, just over one-third, 35 per cent of sandwich caregivers said they experienced financial hardship in the previous 12 months due to their multiple caregiving responsibilities.” 

Overall, sandwich caregiving was most common among adults between 35 and 44 years of age.