Photo by Ed Yourdon
Photo by Ed Yourdon


Portraits of Home Care in Canada 2013 Identifies Challenges and Solutions to

Make Home Care and Health Care Better for All Canadians


Mississauga, Ontario – April 4, 2013 – The Canadian Home Care Association (CHCA) announced today the release of their signature publication, Portraits of Home Care in Canada 2013 (Portraits 2013), a unique profile of provincial, territorial and federally funded programs. Portraits 2013 sheds light on why home care is important to Canadians and the vital role it plays in our changing health care system. Home care helps frail seniors live independently, offers cost effective alternatives to hospital and long-term facility based care, and is a critical part of chronic disease management.


In 2011, 1.4 million Canadians received home care, a 55 percent increase from 2008. Nationally, one in every six seniors is receiving home care services, and with our aging population the demand for home care will surely escalate. Portraits 2013 identified ten provinces and territories that are implementing specific programs to help frail seniors live independently in their homes, unfortunately, the resources and funding do not paint the same picture. “With increasing demand and limited resources, the onus of care falls on family caregivers, who provide the majority of home support services to the frail elderly and to those with chronic, long-term conditions,” said John Schram, President, CHCA. “We must provide appropriate supports for family caregivers to make sure they don’t burn out or experience financial hardship from their involvement in care.”


Portraits 2013 reinforces why home care is so important to Canadians and to our changing health care system, however, the need for home care services is outpacing public funding. The result is service limitations, increased demand on family caregivers, unnecessary hospital visits or premature admissions to long-term care facilities. “It is interesting to note that of the $3,957.00 per capita spent on public health care in 2010, only $159.00 was spent on home care,” stated Nadine Henningsen, Executive Director, CHCA. “In fact, the percentage of public health care funding to home care from the provinces and territories has either decreased or not changed over the past five years.”


Portraits 2013 paints a picture of variable access to home care services across the country where only four provinces and the federally funded programs have no fees or income testing and the costs of personal support, home making, drugs, equipment and supplies are often paid for by the individual and their families.


Based on the extensive information on home care that is found in Portraits 2013, the CHCA recommends provincial, territorial and federal governments build upon identified programs and initiatives to ensure that home care is a critical part of integrated person-centred care. The CHCA outlines four recommendations to help governments and stakeholders achieve this:


  • Meet the commitment to long-term, chronic care in the home setting by increasing the percentage of public health care funding allocated to home care.
  • Support the vital role of family caregivers through programs that safeguard their health, minimize financial burden, and provide them with information and resources.
  • Agree upon and adopt a set of harmonized principles for home care that will achieve a level of consistency across the country, while respecting important jurisdictional difference.
  • Establish meaningful indicators and effective measurement systems to verify the performance, quality and accountability of home care.


Portraits 2013 clearly shows that the home care sector plays a vital role in meeting the health needs of Canadians through better care, better outcomes and better value. Governments and health care consumers expect quality, efficiency and value for their health care investment. Home care is the cost-effective solution to making health care better for all Canadians.


About Portraits of Home Care in Canada 2013Portraits of Home Care in Canada 2013 (Portraits 2013), the signature publication of the CHCA, is the third edition in the Portraits of Home Care in Canada series.   It provides a straightforward source of essential home care facts and figures on eligibility, access, funding, service models, initiatives, challenges and opportunities. Information sources for Portraits 2013 included key informants from provincial, territorial and federal governments and published reports. Copies of Portraits 2013 can be purchased through the CHCA national office at

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