According to a new Oxfam Canada report that was released today, decades of underfunded care services, inadequate compensation for care workers, and unequal distribution of care responsibilities have left communities all over the country with little support when it comes to care.
The report, The amount Do We Give it a second thought? An Evaluation of the Canadian Paid and Neglected Care Strategy Scene, is a far reaching evaluation of the present status of care-related approaches in Canada, featuring the critical requirement for a change in perspective in how care work is esteemed and care frameworks are reinforced to guarantee quality consideration for the people who need it.
The report, which was prepared by Vivic Research and evaluates the federal government’s care policies, looks at 21 indicators across eight policy areas using Oxfam’s Care Policy Scorecard Tool. The assessment takes into account not only health care and child care policy, but also immigration policy, employment protections, infrastructure investments, and who receives care, how it is provided, and who has access to it.
Amar Nijhawan, Oxfam Canada’s Women’s Rights and Policy Specialist, stated, “The report’s findings underscore the need for a holistic approach to provide an enabling environment for a wide spectrum of care services, ensuring that care work and workers are valued, and care responsibilities are more equally shared within households, between families, and the state.”
The report acknowledges that recent federal investments in long-term care, public transportation, and child care are positive steps, but it also identifies significant gaps in federal care policies, such as the following:
Women’s care work in many First Nations communities rises as a result of a lack of clean drinking water on reserve.
the fact that there are no federal initiatives to alter social norms regarding paid and unpaid caregiving.
Migrant workers in the care industry face dire working conditions and lack protections for their labor rights.
Because systemic discrimination remains ingrained in Canada’s policy landscape and care delivery systems, ensuring that marginalized groups have equitable access to healthcare will require significantly more progress.
In order to address these issues, the report makes a number of recommendations aimed at creating care-enabling systems that ensure care workers receive just compensation and dignified working conditions, reduce and redistribute women’s care responsibilities, and promote equitable access to care. A portion of the proposals include: establishing national standards for long-term care, expanding Canadian Medicare to cover essential services, developing a national strategy to recruit and retain care workers, and increasing federal funding for non-profit and publicly managed early learning and child care.
This report emphasizes the necessity of federal action to establish the foundation for nationwide comprehensive and equitable care policies, despite the fact that many care systems are provided at the provincial or municipal levels. Additionally, the report urges the use of the Care Policy Scorecard Tool at the provincial and municipal levels to gain a deeper comprehension of Canada’s care policy.
For Canada, this report is a wake-up call. The care shortage that has long beset our nation has come to light and grown worse as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We must seize this one-of-a-kind chance to rethink care systems, place value on caregiving, and guarantee high-quality care for everyone who needs it. According to Nijhawan, “the establishment of care policies that are equitable, just, and responsive to the diverse needs of our communities” necessitates the leadership of the federal government.