Bill 56: What is it in practical terms?

12 June 2020

Bill 56: What is it in practical terms?

Many of you have asked what Bill 56 was and why this is good news for family caregivers. Here is a summary to help you better understand it.

12 June 2020

Plusieurs d’entre vous se demandent: mais qu’est-ce que le projet de loi 56 et en quoi est-il une bonne nouvelle pour les personnes proches aidantes? Voici un résumé pour vous aider à mieux le comprendre.

Why is this bill so important?

This bill serves to recognize family caregivers and provide them with support. Up to now, family caregivers do not benefit from a specific legal status, despite having responsibilities that “can lead to a significant impact on their quality of life”. The purpose of this Act is to allow caregivers to be recognized as such, but also to be recognized and supported by society.

Who is it for?

The bill aims family caregivers, because the definition of a caregiver is as follows: "Caregiver" means any person who, in a continuous or occasional way, provides significant support to someone close to them, with temporary or permanent disability, and with which they share an emotional bond, whether family-related or not.

Support is offered on a non-professional basis, in an informal setting and may take various forms, for example transportation, personal needs assistance.

What are the steps?

Key moments of the introduction of Bill 56: The bill was tabled on Thursday, June 11, at the National Assembly where its content was presented to all its Members. The Members will review the bill during the fall session; after discussions, they will amend it and decide to vote for or against it.

Then, details of the Act will be debated in Committee. If the bill is adopted by the National Assembly, the Lieutenant Governor will sanction (validate) the following text: The bill will become law.

The current bill calls for an implementation of a province-wide policy for family caregivers. This will be followed by a government action plan for renewal every five years.

What does the bill provide?

The bill summarizes the national caregiver policy by proposing six guiding principles:

  • Recognize the significant contribution of caregivers within the Quebec society and the importance in providing them support;
  • Support the health and well-being of family caregivers as well as maintain their life balance;
  • Consider the diversity of family issues facing caregivers when addressing their specific needs;
  • Recognize the experience and knowledge of caregivers, as well as those of the care recipient, and consider them as part of an approach based on partnership;
  • Respect the wishes and the capacity of caregivers as to the nature and the extent of their commitment;
  • Facilitate government and collective consultation at national, regional and local levels by involving the caregivers to encourage responses based on their specific needs.

What does this tangibly mean?

At the present time, everything seems lengthy and abstract. However, the purpose behind all these efforts is to facilitate the recognition and support of family caregivers, regardless of the government in place. For more information, please refer to Government of Quebec’s caregiver bill schema (in French only).  

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