Our Research


Knowledge Synthesis: COVID-19 in Mental Health and Substance Use Operating Grant
We were funded in 2020 by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to review what was published on the mental health and wellbeing of unpaid caregivers during COVID-19. This was Phase 1 of a three-phase study. We found that only 9% of the published literature on unpaid caregivers and COVID-19 was from Canada. Additionally, a report (May 2020) from The Ontario Caregiver Organization indicated that unpaid caregivers in Canada under 65 years of age were coping worse mentally and emotionally during COVID-19. Our review also showed that we know little about unpaid caregivers from other racial and ethnic populations.


The Mental Health and Wellbeing of Unpaid Caregivers
Our research team of investigators, trainees, community agencies and people with lived experience, received additional funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to further our work on unpaid caregiving. Unpaid caregiving is a public health issue of increasing importance in Canada. Almost one-third of Canadians provide unpaid personal, psychological, physical, social, and/or financial care or support to someone over the age of 18 with a long-term health condition, a disability, or with increased needs. We learned from our Phase 1 study that little is known about the unpaid caregiver experiences in racial and ethnic populations in Canada. The additional funding will help us conduct Phase 2a of our research. In Phase 2a we are collecting survey data to learn more about the health and well-being of unpaid caregivers (men and women) from various racial and ethnic populations in Canada.


Our research team plans to apply for additional funding to conduct Phases 2b and 3 of our research. Phase 2b will consist of interviews (telephone or virtual) to help us learn more from unpaid caregivers who have fair/poor wellbeing and those who have good/excellent wellbeing. Please let us know if you wish to be contacted for an interview in the future. You can do this when you complete the survey.

After the interviews, we plan to organize a meeting to discuss and recommend changes to the way unpaid caregivers across various racial and ethnic groups are supported in Canada. This includes recommendations for unpaid caregiver policies/guidelines, supports and interventions to improve unpaid caregiver wellbeing across various racial and ethnic populations in Canada. This is Phase 3 of our research.