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Impact of Providing Care on the Risk of Leaving Employment in Canada*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 November 2014

Christine Proulx
Department of Sociology, McGill University
Céline Le Bourdais*
Department of Sociology, McGill University
La correspondance et les demandes de tirés-à-part doivent être adressées à : / Correspondence and requests for offprints should be sent to: Céline Le Bourdais, Ph.D. Department of Sociology McGill University Stephen Leacock Building Room 713 855 Sherbrooke Street West Montreal, PQ H3A 2T7 (


Population aging is likely to lead to an increase in the number of people in need of assistance. It is well known that a large part of this assistance originates, and will continue to originate, from the network of relatives and friends. However, the effects of the provision of care on individuals’ employment trajectories when this care is combined with employment of varying intensity or with childcare responsibilities have rarely been examined. The present study used proportional hazards models with the General Social Survey, Cycles 20 and 21, to assess the impact of providing care to a partner, a parent or parent-in-law, another relative, or a non-relative on the risk of leaving employment. The analyses show that providing care to a parent or parent-in-law increases the probability of leaving employment only among women employed full-time and among men and women who have no children or only adult children.


Le vieillissement de la population entraînera sans doute une augmentation du nombre de personnes ayant besoin d’aide. Il est bien connu qu’une grande part de l’aide reçue provient, et continuera de provenir, du réseau informel de proches et d’amis. Cependant, les effets qu’exerce la prestation de soins sur les trajectoires d’emploi des individus lorsque ces soins sont cumulés à des régimes d’emploi d’intensités variées ou à des responsabilités parentales ont été peu analysés. La présente étude utilise les données de l’Enquête sociale générale, cycles 20 et 21, pour évaluer l’impact de fournir des soins à un conjoint, un parent ou beau-parent, une autre personne apparentée ou une personne non-apparentée sur le risque de quitter son emploi à l’aide des modèles à risques proportionnels. Les analyses montrent que le fait de prodiguer des soins à un parent ou beau-parent augmente la probabilité de quitter son emploi, mais seulement chez les femmes qui travaillent à plein temps, ainsi que chez les hommes et les femmes qui n’ont pas d’enfants ou qui ont seulement des enfants d’âge adulte.

Copyright © Canadian Association on Gerontology 2014 

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Support for this research was provided by the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et Culture (FRQSC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the McGill Canada Research Chair on Social Statistics and Family Change. The authors thank Paul-Marie Huot for his assistance with data construction and Benoît-Paul Hébert and Jorge Uriarte-Landa for their helpful comments. The results presented are based on analyses conducted in the Quebec Interuniversity Centre for Social Statistics (QICSS), which provides researchers access to the micro-detailed data collected by Statistics Canada. The opinions expressed here do not represent the view of Statistics Canada.


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