Daiene Vernile and Kathryn McGarry MPP logos

Support for Caregivers Making a Difference for Families in Waterloo Region

Ontario Funding Respite Services to Help Families Care for Loved Ones

April 4, 2017


This year, Ontario increased supports for people caring for their loved ones at home in Waterloo Region, by increasing access to respite services for local families.

Today — on National Family Caregiver Day — MPP for Cambridge Kathryn McGarry and MPP for Kitchener Centre Daiene Vernile are thanking people in Waterloo Region for the work they do every day to care for their loved ones. A caregiver is someone who takes on the unpaid role of helping a family member or loved one with their physical or cognitive condition, injury or chronic life-limiting illness.

Additional funding from the province has allowed for the creation of a respite care program for residents across Waterloo Wellington. As a result, approximately 200 families with the highest needs were supported this year, receiving more than 30,000 hours of respite care.

This has been a great help to families like Audrey, 88, and her husband Bill, 96, who have been happily married for over 65 years. According to Audrey, Bill’s fall last summer changed both their lives. No longer able to carry out day-to-day tasks on his own and suffering from Alzheimer’s, Bill required support twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. It was then that Audrey became a full-time caregiver to her husband with a goal of keeping him at home as long as possible.

Through the Waterloo Wellington Community Care Access Centre, Audrey receives respite support four days a week. This support ensures Audrey gets the rest she needs, can leave the home to run errands or connect with friends for a visit or a game of bridge. 

“Knowing Bill is receiving the care he needs gives me great peace of mind and the chance to also take care of myself. I am so thankful for the support. Bill is much happier being at home and that means the world to me,” shared Audrey.

Ontario’s support has allowed for approximately 600,000 additional hours of respite services for caregivers across the province this year.

Supporting patients and their caregivers is part of the government's plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care. This plan is providing patients with faster access to the right care, better home and community care, the information they need to stay healthy and a health care system that’s sustainable for generations to come.


“Improving home and community care is one of our government’s most important health care priorities. Informal caregivers, like family members and friends, contribute to more than per cent of their loved ones’ caregiving needs, and we know how stressful that can be. We want to ensure caregivers are supported and able to take rests from providing care to their loved ones.”

— Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

“As a nurse, I have seen firsthand how important family and informal caregivers play in a patient’s well-being and recovery.  I am proud to say that more funding from the province has allowed for the creation of a much-needed respite care program for residents across Cambridge and the Region of Waterloo. Supporting patients and their caregivers is essential. On National Family Caregiver Day, we show our admiration and respect to all the caregivers out there.” 

 — Kathryn McGarry, MPP Cambridge

“On National Family Caregiver Day, we recognize the invaluable supports that caregivers provide to their loved ones, and we recognize the demands that are placed on the people performing this important service. By increasing the supports offered to caregivers, we allow them and the people for whom they care the opportunity to thrive within our community.”

— Daiene Vernile, MPP Kitchener Centre

“Local residents have told me how important supports are to help them care for and keep their loved ones at home, where they want to be. Family caregivers are a vital member of a patient’s care team and supporting them is incredibly important to a patient’s health and wellbeing. Now with a dedicated respite program, more caregivers are able to access supports sooner. ”

— Bruce Lauckner, CEO, Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network (LHIN)


  • Informal caregivers represent approximately one in five Ontarians.
  • The province has invested $954, 800 to better support caregivers in the Waterloo Wellington LHIN.
  • Ontario invested $100 million last year to enhance support for home care clients with high needs and their caregivers.
  • The investment provided $80 million to support enhanced care for clients who are most in need and $20 million for caregiver respite, allowing caregivers who need it the most to take rests from providing care to their loved ones.
  • Through consultations with people in Ontario and members of Ontario's Patient and Caregiver Advisory Table, the province recently established a Statement of Home and Community Care Values. This Statement reflects the needs and priorities of home and community care clients and their caregivers and ensures their values are reflected in the care they receive.


Amanda Hostler
Office of Kathryn McGarry, MPP Cambridge
498 Eagle Street North Unit 101
Cambridge, ON N3H 1C2

Rebecca Wagner
Officer of Daiene Vernile, MPP Kitchener, Centre
Unit 3-379 Queen St. S
Kitchener, ON N2G 1W6