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As many as 43 per cent of caregivers in Ontario say they are feeling depressed, and 67 per cent are concerned about whether they will be able to manage their caregiving responsibilities going forward.Daniel Balakov/Getty Images

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Ask Women and Work

Question: For the past year, I’ve been the main family caregiver for my mother who has dementia. She is in a good facility, but I feel it’s important to be there regularly because her transition to the facility was not easy and she has many difficult days. I also work full-time and have two children and I’m feeling the strain from these competing responsibilities. Are there supports (government, workplace, community) available to help me? I feel all alone in this.

We asked Amy Coupal, CEO at the Ontario Caregiver Organization, to tackle this one:

In Canada, nearly eight million people provide care for family members or friends with a long-term condition, a disability or problems related to aging. While every caregiving experience is unique, your situation is one we hear often.

Many caregivers are providing care while also trying to balance family and work responsibilities. Working caregivers are often stretched thin. More and more caregivers are feeling stressed and burnt out. As many as 43 per cent of Ontario caregivers say they are feeling depressed, and 67 per cent say they’re concerned about whether they will be able to manage their caregiving responsibilities going forward. Know that you are not alone.

The Ontario Caregiver Organization (OCO) exists to help improve the lives of caregivers. It provides free programs and services such as peer support, one-to-one coaching and educational webinars, plus a 24/7 helpline that gives caregivers one point of access to information about what programs and supports are available in the community. This might include respite, or day programs for the care recipient. If you aren’t located in Ontario, you can find caregiving resources in your home province or territory – some have caregiving organizations while others do not.

OCO also works with employers to raise awareness of the challenges of being a working caregiver and to support organizations with the adoption of caregiver friendly policies, such as flexible work arrangements, paid caregiver days and enhanced Employee Assistance Programs that may include referral services or counselling. Not all employers have these policies in place. A good first step to find support through an employer is to start the conversation. Work and Caregiving: A Balancing Act is a toolkit with tips on topics such as how to manage the demands of caregiving, how to care for yourself and steps to making it work at work.

From a financial perspective, caregivers can explore tax credits that may be beneficial. It can be confusing to understand what credits exist, so the OCO has created a resource to make it easier to review what’s available and where to find more information related to eligibility.

Submit your own questions to Ask Women and Work by e-mailing us at

This week’s must-read stories on women and work

How to be fearless: Grammy nominee Allison Russell and eight other notable Canadians share their secrets to success

Success comes in many forms, but often has a single ingredient: boldness. The Globe and Mail asked Canadians including singer-songwriter Allison Russell, social-justice advocate Lauren Ravon and fashion trailblazer Celia Sears to reflect on how they stayed fearless in 2023, and how they plan to challenge themselves in the year ahead.

Read why perspective is key when it comes to achieving goals and recovering from failure.

Will AI enable a three-day workweek? Certain billionaires think so, but some experts disagree

Some of the world’s most successful business leaders, including Bill Gates and Jamie Dimon, have recently suggested that advancements in artificial intelligence will cut the workweek down to just three or three and a half days. Others aren’t so convinced.

The quickly developing technology is poised to dramatically increase productivity across a range of industries and functions, and while some suggest those gains will translate into fewer working hours, others fear it could result in fewer workers.

“Just because we can be more productive doesn’t mean we’ll work less time,” said Vered Shwartz, a professor of computer science at the University of British Columbia, and AI chair at the Vector Institute. “There’s a good chance that it creates the expectation for workers to do more, be even more productive, and some employers will decide to lay off people before they reduce the workweek.”

Read why AI gains may translate into more profit rather than less work for individuals.

Let’s resolve to make meetings more effective in 2024. Here’s how

The best thing you can do to improve your organization – and your state of mind – in 2024 might well be to revamp meetings and make them more effective. Meetings are important, the foundation for making decisions and moving ahead as a group. Instead of bemoaning meetings, let’s dedicate ourselves to making them better in the coming year.

Sanjay Khosla, an executive coach and adjunct professor of marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, recommends focusing on the future in meetings, not the past. “Many companies waste a lot of time,” Mr. Khosla told Kellogg Insight. “Participants wade through long PowerPoint presentations that go into excruciating detail on why deliverables were not met. Too much time is spent analyzing the past rather than focusing on the future. This creates an atmosphere of fear, where the primary objective is often just to please the leader.”

He estimates that 70 per cent of meeting time is spent looking in the rearview mirror and recommends a reversal, devoting 70 per cent to the priorities ahead and 30 per cent to the past.

Read why Mr. Khosla thinks slide presentations should be “banned” in meetings.

In case you missed it

Women leaders weigh in on how to move the needle in 2024

Will 2024 be the year that women achieve equitable numbers in business leadership? Will companies soon chart more fair representation regarding race, gender identity, sexual orientation and disability?

If data from the past several years are any indication, the year ahead should see positive change – but that change is not happening quickly enough.

The latest McKinsey & Company Women in the Workplace report, which was created with surveys of more than 27,000 employees and 270 senior HR leaders in Canada and the U.S., shows slow growth in women’s representation in leadership roles. In 2023, women made up just 23 per cent of c-suite leaders, with women of colour representing a mere six per cent of those in top jobs.

What’s next? The Globe Women’s Collective spoke to four leaders across the country in different sectors to get their responses to two questions: What do you think could lead to more women in senior leadership roles? And: What are your personal leadership goals for 2024?

Read the full article.

From the archives

Despite Canada’s labour shortage, workers with disabilities are often left behind

“I’ve been asked if I am going to die from my condition in a job interview,” says Margo Bok, an MBA with a bachelor of commerce who lives with cerebral palsy.

When Ms. Bok graduated in 1986, she saw her male counterparts secure executive-level jobs while women with the same degrees were hired as secretaries. Ms. Bok’s entry into the work force began with positions that provided wage subsidies, because no employer would hire her without additional funding.

“That’s no way to enter the working world,” says the Victoria resident.

She was consistently told that employers didn’t have the supports she needed when she had not indicated a need for any. Potential employers called her references before interviewing her to ask them if she had a disability.

Ms. Bok remembers noticing how job descriptions would be written with requirements that screened out candidates with certain physical disabilities.

“I left a desk job that later posted the job saying candidates needed to be able to lift 50 pounds,” she says. “That was never part of that job.”

Read the full article.

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