Siblings Canada

Siblings Canada (formerly The Sibling Collaborative) recognizes that while our experiences as siblings are diverse and profound, our perspectives, needs and ideas are often overlooked. We exist to ensure that Canadian siblings of people with disabilities are recognized, valued and supported.

Siblings Canada, an initiative of the Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence (CCCE), raises awareness of the critical role siblings play in creating robust and responsive systems of care for people with disabilities. We serve as a source of connection, relevant knowledge, learning and resources for sibling caregivers and Canadian disability service organizations who want to engage and support them.

Supporting and empowering siblings in their changing roles as caregivers

A shift is underway. Today, more people with disabilities are outliving their parents and, as a result, their siblings are becoming responsible for their care.

Too many siblings are unprepared and lacking the necessary support and resources for this life-changing transition. They are often left out of the discussions, decision-making and policies that affect the life-long care of their siblings.

Siblings Canada strengthens and empowers siblings* of people with disabilities to fulfill their changing roles with greater confidence and influence.

CCCE recognizes the critical role sibling caregivers play. Siblings Canada and CCCE envision a Canada where all caregivers, including siblings, are valued and supported. This shared vision brought CCCE and Siblings Canada together to strengthen the voice of sibling caregivers and advocate for their needs.

As Siblings Canada looks to the future, we’re focused on making an impact in meaningful ways:

  • Advancing national awareness of the important role siblings play in the long-term well-being of their family members with disabilities
  • Contributing to research, knowledge and policy on siblings, caregiving and disability
  • Bringing adult sibling caregivers together to share their experiences and learn from one another
  • Building the capacity of social service agencies and other disability-focused organizations to better engage and support sibling caregivers

**In addition to siblings, we welcome and support siblings-in-law, cousins, and other second-generation caregivers.

Explore the Siblings Canada Learning Hub!

The Siblings Canada Learning Hub is a curated collection of free resources that support siblings of people with disabilities build their knowledge of relevant topics, including financial security, mental health and communicating with family. Check it out today!

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Virtual events

Our virtual events bring together sibling caregivers, experts and other stakeholders to work through such topics as addressing mental health needs, effectively communicating with family and building financial security.

View all events
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Sibling Peer Mentorship Program

This program matches adults who have siblings with disabilities with the goal of building supportive, one-on-one relationships that are centered around a deep sense of understanding which comes from having similar lived experiences.

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Research, Reports & Other Resources

To date, there has been limited research on Canadian adults who have siblings with disabilities. To address this gap, Siblings Canada partners with organizations and institutions to build our collective understanding of the diverse experiences, needs and challenges of sibling caregivers. This research informs the resources we create, including our guides, online courses, presentations and events.

With support from the Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence (CCCE) and Siblings Canada, a research team from Western University is completing a project to learn about the experiences of the siblings during periods of care transitions and how they imagine their futures together by highlighting recurring themes and shared values.

In 2018, Siblings Canada conducted an online survey to better understand the experiences of adult sibling caregivers. The survey was completed by hundreds of people and set the groundwork for a paper we co-authored with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

The study was published in the Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities in April 2020 and can be found online.

In 2021, Siblings Canada conducted an online survey to identify the experiences and needs of adult sibling caregivers who deal with the financial and overall well-being of their siblings with disabilities. Over 350 siblings from across Canada responded to the survey; our infographic highlights what we learned.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Siblings Canada has made efforts to understand the experiences of adult sibling caregivers. From May to July of 2020, in collaboration with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), we conducted an online survey exploring the specific concerns of sibling caregivers, their emotions and the resources they found most helpful during the pandemic.

Later that year, the Journal of Intellectual Disability Research published a paper on our findings titled, Exploring the experiences of siblings of adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In late 2020, we sent a follow-up survey to further understand the sibling caregiving experience and see what had changed since the pandemic started. Sixty of the 91 siblings from the original survey responded; they agreed the pandemic continued to weigh heavily on their families. Sibling caregivers are still experiencing high levels of stress, worry and sadness.

To learn more about our findings, review our follow-up report.

With permission from SibsUK, we adapted the charity’s workbook titled Talking to your parents about common sibling issues for Canadians. Our guide helps adult sibling caregivers communicate with their families about the future and provides practical tools for engaging in healthy, productive conversations.

In 2021, with funding from AIDE Canada, Siblings Canada developed a guide on mental health for siblings of people with disabilities. The guide provides readers with information and resources to support their sibling’s mental health–and their own.

This guide is for organizations, agencies, and community groups interested in offering peer mentoring programs for adult siblings of people with disabilities. Funded by the Azrieli Foundation, it outlines who and what peer meetup programs involve and offers practical recommendations for running them.

This guide is for organizations, agencies, and community groups interested in offering virtual peer meetup programs for adult siblings of people with disabilities. Borrowing from a manual produced by the Ontario Caregiver Organization, it outlines who and what virtual peer meetup programs involve and offers practical recommendations for running them.

Siblings Canada is currently updating our e-book sibling caregiver stories so they can be widely shared.

Register for our mailing list to receive updates on the release of our e-book and other publications.

Supporting organizations to support siblings

Many siblings with disabilities live in poverty. With funding from the federal government and in partnership with PLAN, Siblings Canada is leading a multi-year project to help sibling caregivers build long-term financial security for—and with—their siblings with disabilities.

As part of this work, we are looking to connect with sector stakeholder groups from across Canada. If you are interested in learning about how your organization can better engage and support sibling caregivers, reach out to us at [email protected].

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