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Open Access Correspondence

Agenda-setting for Canadian caregivers: using media analysis of the maternity leave benefit to inform the compassionate care benefit

Sarah Dykeman1 and Allison M Williams2*

Author Affiliations

1 Trent University, Peterborough, ON, Canada

2 School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, L8S 4K1 Hamilton, ON, Canada

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BMC Women's Health 2014, 14:60  doi:10.1186/1472-6874-14-60

Published: 24 April 2014


The Compassionate Care Benefit was implemented in Canada in 2004 to support employed informal caregivers, the majority of which we know are women given the gendered nature of caregiving. In order to examine how this policy might evolve over time, we examine the evolution of a similar employment insurance program, Canada’s Maternity Leave Benefit. National media articles were reviewed (n = 2,698) and, based on explicit criteria, were analyzed using content analysis. Through the application of Kingdon’s policy agenda-setting framework, the results define key recommendations for the Compassionate Care Benefit, as informed by the developmental trajectory of the Maternity Leave Benefit. Recommendations for revising the Compassionate Care Benefit are made.

Social policy; Agenda-setting; Women’s labour; End-of-life care; Maternity leave benefit; Compassionate care benefit