Gender, Migration, & The Work of Care

Research Findings

“I put pride into what I’m doing, and I give it my best. If the client is happy, I’m happy.”

Quick Facts


Pour cent des soignants rapportent vivre dans une résidence différente de celle de leur bénéficiaire de soins, comparé à 16% des soignants qui vivent chez le bénéficiaire de soins et 14% qui fournissent des soins à des personnes âgées dans des résidences pour personnes âgées.


Pour cent des aides familiaux rapportent avoir planifié et coordonné les rendez-vous de leur bénéficiaire de soins au cours des 12 derniers mois (2012).


Pour cent des aides familiaux rapportent devoir planifier et coordonner les rendez-vous pour leur bénéficiaire de soins au moins une fois par semaine (2012).

Caregivers often find themselves performing duties above and beyond what their original contract lays out, especially when they are working directly in a client’s home.

Their responsibilities are often unclear since the environment they are working in is not very regulated. Rita, a caregiver with over 20 years experience, is well versed in the challenges and rewards of being a caregiver, and has some interesting insights into what it’s like.

“I do have a contract of some sorts, but I put way too many hours in – a lot more hours than the contract says,” Rita said, sitting at a beautiful wood table with soft classical music playing in the background. Rita is a personal caregiver for a 102-year-old man named Bill. “I’m sort of in charge. I do the light housework and food preparation, laundry and personal hygiene if need be. I will set the schedule for the weekend caregivers so I don’t have to come in everyday. I organize doctor’s appointments and take [Bill] there. I drive, I do office work for his magazine, I meet with associates, I take him to general meetings on weekends… Usually I schedule everything.”

Rita’s duties as a caregiver are very unique, because not only is she responsible for caring for Bill, but she is also in charge of hiring and scheduling all of the other caregivers, which is usually a job done by the family of the person receiving care. Rita is simultaneously an employee and an employer: working for the family as a caregiver, but hiring and scheduling the other caregivers at the same time.

“I’m doing as much as I can, and then some. I’ll give it my all… I’m not a machine, and the little kids or the elderly, they’re not machines and they’re not objects either… they have needs.” Rita approaches caregiving as a lifestyle and life duty, not just as a job. “You have so much time and emotions invested, and it’s not just a job like any other job where you go to the office and do your work. You’re working with people not just with objects. Every shift you come into, or every day, is different. There could be a little mishap or there could be just a great amount of joy.”

Watching Rita at work is amazing – she cares so much for the people she looks after, and always puts the needs of others first. Her dedication to being a caregiver is obvious, and is shown through her constant work that goes far beyond what a caregiver is usually expected to do. “I treat a person the way I’d like to be treated – give them time; give them dignity. Hopefully some day when I’m old, somebody throws a smile at me or gives me a helping hand.”