FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

 

  1. What do you mean by caregiver?
  2. What is The Ontario Caregiver Organization and what do you do?
  3. What are the organization's priorities?
  4. What do you mean when you say you will provide a platform to help caregivers access services and supports?
  5. How does the work of the Ontario Caregiver Organization compare to other organizations that offer caregiver support?
  6. How is the Ontario Caregiver Organization funded?
  7. What is the point of connecting caregivers to supports if agencies don't have enough people to provide the care?
  8. Would the money being invested in this organization be better spent by increasing front line care?
  9. Will the Ontario Caregiver Organization be responsible for delivering caregiver supports?
  10. When will the organization begin to deliver the much needed-support to Ontario caregivers?
  11. Where do you start when the needs are so great?
  12. Isn't there a freeze on using consultants in government agencies?  If the Ontario Caregiver Organization is provincially funded, how can it issue an RFP for consultants?
  13. I have access to lots of services and supports where I live.  Why do we need this?
  14. Will this mean that the services and supports I access through my local organizations will be replaced by the Ontario Caregiver Organization? 
  15. Will the Ontario Caregiver Organization communicate in multiple languages?
  16. Is this just about home care?
  17. Do I need to support a senior to access help through the Ontario Caregiver Organization?
  18. Are you doing enough to support caregivers?
  19. What does help look like for me?
  20. Is the Ontario Caregiver Organization a referral service?

 

1. What do you mean by caregiver?

Caregivers are family members, partners, friends or neighbours who provide personal, social and psychological support to someone in need. In Ontario, there are 3.3 million caregivers. It’s with the support of caregivers that people who need help can remain in their home which is where they want to be. Caregivers play an invaluable role in our healthcare system.

 

2. What is The Ontario Caregiver Organization and what do you do?

The Ontario Caregiver Organization was created in the Spring of 2018 as an independent not-for-profit corporation that functions at arms-length from government. The Ontario Caregiver Organization will support caregivers by being a one point of contact for information about existing services and supports.

We will work to bridge the range of these services and supports so they are available to caregivers across Ontario, regardless of age or where they live.  At a provincial level, we will raise awareness of the role and challenges of being a caregiver, and we will be an advocate for caregivers and healthcare and service providers who support caregivers, across the province. We will ensure the caregiver’s voice is heard and helps to inform policy and legislation.  

The Organization’s mandate is not to duplicate existing services, but to complement them and to build new services where appropriate.

 

3. What are the organization’s priorities?

The Ontario Caregiver Organization recognizes the valuable role caregivers play. Through consultations with caregivers, representatives of home and community care organizations and caregiver support organizations they have identified the key priorities of the organization which include:

  • Helping Caregivers Access Services and Supports

 The Ontario Caregiver Organization will be the one point of access to information that can help caregivers. A first step will be to raise awareness of the services currently available and educate caregivers on how to access support using existing information and referral services such as 211, Connex, Kids Help Phone, Healthline and Caregiver Exchange, to name a few.

  • Bridging the Range of Services and Supports

We know that healthcare and service provider agencies across the province are providing valuable supports and services to caregivers. We also know these supports and services can vary depending on where you live or your unique situation. The Ontario Caregiver Organization will work with healthcare and service provider agencies to ensure all Ontarians have fair access to the excellent programs that already exist, as well as looking at what supports may still be needed. Future services will be informed by Ontario caregivers to ensure they meet their needs. The Ontario Caregiver Organization is working with partners that include The Change Foundation, the Young Carers Initiative/The Powerhouse Project and others who are interested in expanding access to their own programs and services. This will speed up expanded delivery of direct services and supports to caregivers and to organizations that support them. 

  • Creating Greater Awareness of the Role of Caregivers

Creating awareness of the valuable role of caregivers and the challenges they face is an important step in easing the burden and improving the experience for caregivers.

  • Acting as an Objective Voice of Caregivers

Regardless of their age, the diagnoses of their loved one, and where they live in order to influence policy and legislation. At a provincial level, we will shine a light on the needs of all caregivers in Ontario.

 

4. What do you mean when you say you will provide a platform to help caregivers access services and supports?

Caregivers play a vital role in our healthcare system and many provide up to 80 per cent of the support their loved one needs. Their contribution to the healthcare system is valued at $26 billion dollars annually and this is expected to increase to $63 billion by 2030.

It’s with the support of caregivers that people are able to live in their home for as long as possible.

They significantly improve the quality of life for their loved one and are often the glue keeping the pieces together.

Many caregivers don’t identify themselves as caregivers. They consider themselves “just” a mother, father, family member or friend, doing what they need to do to support someone in need. They make an immense contribution to their loved one’s quality of life, to their community and to the province of Ontario.

But who is caring for Ontario’s caregivers?

Caregivers have voiced their frustration about how challenging it is to find the information they need. They want it to be easier.

The Ontario Caregiver Organization will:

  • Support caregivers by being the one point of contact for information about existing services and supports.
  • Work to bridge the range of these services and supports so all caregivers have the same access, regardless of age, diagnosis or where they live. 
  • Create greater awareness about the role of caregivers, the challenges of being a caregiver and the contribution they make to their loved one, their community and the province of Ontario.
  • Advocate for caregivers, healthcare and service providers who support caregivers, across the province. We will ensure the caregiver’s voice is heard and helps to inform policy and legislation.  

 

 5. How does the work of The Ontario Caregiver Organization compare to other organizations that offer caregiver support?

Ontario has many valuable caregiver support organizations. Each have a different area of focus or mandate and each reflects pockets of excellence in selected areas. The Ontario Caregiver Organization is solely focused on meeting the diverse needs of caregivers, regardless of their age, the disease or where they live.

 

6. How is The Ontario Caregiver Organization funded?

The Ontario Caregiver Organization is funded by the provincial government. It is classified as a not-for-profit and is in the process of seeking, charitable status; it acts as a stand-alone caregiver support organization. The Ontario Caregiver Organization functions at an arms-length from government, meaning it is an objective voice and reflects the unique culture of caregiving. The organization is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, all of whom have caregiver experience.

 

7. What is the point of connecting caregivers to supports if agencies don’t have enough people to provide the care?

Across the province there is recognition that there is a shortage of personal support workers. These capacity challenges are not limited to one service provider or one community. It’s because of these human resource challenges that the work of The Ontario Caregiver Organization is so important. We will work with health care and service provider agencies to explore new and innovative ways of expanding supports and services, so all caregivers and the loved ones they care for, have fair access to what they need. 

 

8. Would the money being invested in this organization be better spent by increasing front line care?

In Ontario, there are approximately 3.3 million caregivers - family members, partners, friends or neighbours who provide personal, social and psychological support to someone in need. This includes children and youth. Caregivers provide critical support to a loved one and so the role is never considered optional. 

Ontario caregivers spend between 11 to 30 hours a week caregiving which is valued at approximately $26B annually. By 2020, this number will increase to $63B. The support of these caregivers complements the services provided by professional care providers and the funds invested in them by the Government of Ontario.

Caregivers are experiencing increasing levels of stress and adverse health effects. By supporting caregivers, we will help to improve their health and wellness and quality of life. We will also help to reduce pressure on Ontario’s healthcare system.

The Ontario Caregiver Organization has a clear mandate. We will:

  • Support caregivers by being the one point of contact for information about existing services and supports.
  • Work to bridge the range of these services and supports so all caregivers have the same access, regardless of age, diagnosis or where they live. 
  • Create greater awareness about the role of caregivers, the challenges of being a caregiver and the contribution they make to their loved one, their community and the province of Ontario.
  • Advocate for caregivers, healthcare and service providers who support caregivers, across the province. We will ensure the caregiver’s voice is heard and included in policy and legislation.  

Our goal is not to duplicate services, but to complement them and to build new services where appropriate.

 

9. Will the Ontario Caregiver Organization be responsible for delivering caregiver supports?

The Ontario Caregiver Organization will support caregivers by being the one point of access to information about existing services and supports. The organization will bridge the range of these services and supports so all caregivers have the same access, regardless of age, diagnosis or where they live. We will create greater awareness about the role of caregivers, the challenges of being a caregiver and the contribution they make to their loved one, their community and the province of Ontario. We will advocate for caregivers and healthcare and service providers who support caregivers, across the province, and we will ensure the caregiver’s voice is heard and helps to inform policy and legislation.  

The Organization’s mandate is not to duplicate existing services, but to complement them and to build new services where appropriate.  One of our early priorities will be to work with willing partners to support the expansion of highly successful programs into communities where there are significant gaps.  

 

10. When will the organization begin to deliver the much-needed support to Ontario caregivers?

The Ontario Caregiver Organization was created in the Spring of 2018. Since then, we have been working on creating the foundation of the organization. We are now ready to begin the public consultation phase of our work. Over the fall/winter, we will engage with caregivers, as well as health care and service provider agencies to validate our areas of focus and prioritize our work. Other initiatives that we are currently working on include:

  • Establishing a Caregiver Advisory Structure. Caregivers who wish to act in an advisory role will have the opportunity to provide feedback and inform the work of the Ontario Caregiver Organization. We want this to be easy for caregivers; we’ll look at innovative ways to use technology to engage with caregivers, while also providing opportunities to bring caregivers together to collaborate and share feedback
  • Building an enhanced bi-lingual website. Our website will provide a way for caregivers to access existing services and supports. Expanding on this is one of our early priorities
  • Expanding our current Board of Directors
  • Recruiting a permanent CEO
  • Developing our strategic plan

 

11. Where do you start when the needs are so great?

There are 3.3 million caregivers in Ontario, each with their own unique story, set of circumstances and challenges.  The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care consulted with caregivers, representatives of home and community care organizations and caregiver support organizations to identify the key priorities of the organization which include:

  • Helping Caregivers Access Services and Supports: The Ontario Caregiver Organization will be the one point of access to information that can help caregivers. A first step will be to raise awareness of the services currently available and educate caregivers on how to access support using existing information and referral services such as 211, Connex, Kids Help Phone, Healthline and Caregiver Exchange.
  • Bridging the Range of Services and Supports: We know that healthcare and service provider agencies across the province are providing valuable supports and services to caregivers. We also know that these supports, and services can vary depending on where you live or your unique situation. The Ontario Caregiver Organization will work with healthcare and service provider agencies to ensure all Ontarians have fair access to the excellent programs that already exist, as well as looking at what supports may still be needed. Future services will be informed by Ontario caregivers to ensure they meet their needs. The Ontario Caregiver Organization is working with partners that include The Change Foundation, Young Carers Initiative/The Powerhouse Project and others who are interested in expanding access to their own programs and services. This will speed up expanded delivery of direct services and supports to caregivers and to organizations that support them. 
  • Creating greater awareness about the role of caregivers, the challenges of being a caregiver and the contribution they make to their loved one, their community and the province of Ontario.
  • Acting as an objective voice of caregivers, regardless of their age, the diagnoses of their loved one, and where they live in order to influence policy and legislation. At a provincial level, we will shine a light on the needs of all caregivers in Ontario.

During our start-up and launch phase, we are focused on the following initiatives:

  • Public consultations with caregivers. As our work begins, we want to ensure all caregivers across the province have an opportunity to shape the organization’s direction and priorities.
  • Establishing a caregiver advisory structure. Caregivers who wish to act in an advisory role will have the opportunity to provide feedback and inform the work of the Ontario Caregiver Organization. We want this to be easy for caregivers; we’ll look at innovative ways to use technology to engage with caregivers, while also providing opportunities to bring caregivers together to collaborate and share feedback.
  • Building an enhanced bi-lingual website. Our website will provide a way for caregivers to access existing services and supports. Expanding on this is one of our early priorities.
  • Expanding our current Board of Directors.
  • Recruiting a permanent CEO.
  • Developing our strategic plan.

 

12.  Isn’t there a freeze on using consultants in government agencies?  If the Ontario Caregiver Organization is provincially funded, how can it issue an RFP for consultants?

The Ontario Caregiver Organization is not a government agency.  It is an independent, not-for-profit corporation subject to the terms of a transfer payment agreement with the province.  

 

13. I have access to lots of services and support where I live.  Why do we need this?

Supports and services vary across the province, depending on where caregivers live and the age and diagnosis of their loved one. In addition, the needs of rural Ontarians often differ from caregivers living in urban areas. The Ontario Caregiver Organization will work with organizations that are already supporting caregivers to bridge the range of services and supports so that all caregivers have fair access.       

 

14.  Will this mean that the services and supports I access through my local organizations will be replaced by the Ontario Caregiver Organization?

Ontario has an abundance of exceptional organizations that provide supports and services to caregivers. These organizations will continue to deliver these supports and services. The Ontario Caregiver Organization will partner with these organizations to identify solutions to bridge the range of supports and services, so their programs are available to caregivers across the province, regardless of age or where they live.

 

15. Will the Ontario Caregiver Organization communicate in multiple languages?

The Ontario Caregiver Organization will make resources available on our website in English and French. For caregivers that speak another first language, we will arrange for a translator to support conversations.  

 

16. Is this just about home care?

Home care is an important piece of supporting caregivers but it’s not the only piece. There are other services and supports that caregivers can access. As an example, tax credits, housing information, educational supports, etc. We are here to support caregivers, so they understand the full suite of supports and services available to them.

 

17. Do I need to support a senior to access help through the Ontario Caregiver Organization?

The Ontario Caregiver Organization is here to support all caregivers, regardless of age, where they live or diagnosis of their loved one. This includes those caring for children, youth, adults and seniors alike. It also supports young caregivers who are providing care to a parent, grandparent or sibling.

 

18. Are you doing enough to support caregivers?

Caregivers have been the invisible population for far too long. Caregivers across Ontario want, need and deserve help now.  No matter where they live, their age or the language they speak, caregivers should be able to get the support they need.

Caregivers have voiced their frustration about how challenging it can be to access necessary resources and information. As a new organization, our immediate focus is on helping caregivers’ access to existing services and supports. We will also work to bridge the range of services and supports that are available to caregivers of all ages across Ontario, and act as the objective voice of all caregivers to inform policy and legislation. Much of our work needs to be done in collaboration with health care and service provider agencies across the province which can take time. However, establishing the Ontario Caregiver Organization means we’re moving in the right direction.

 

19. What does help look like for me?

The Ontario Caregiver Organization will provide one-point of access to information about programs and services available to Ontario Caregivers. Our team of trained staff will work with you to understand your unique needs and help you to understand the suite of resources that are available to you. We will also work to bridge the services and supports across the province so that all caregivers have fair access.

 

20. Is the Ontario Caregiver Organization a referral service?

The Ontario Caregiver Organization will provide one-point of access to information about programs and services available to Ontario caregivers. There are many excellent services that support caregivers. We will first work to create greater awareness of these programs and services. We will also work with health care and service provider agencies to expand these programs and services, so all caregivers have fair access to what they need. The Ontario Caregiver Organization will not duplicate existing services.

 

 

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