Making a meaningful difference in the lives of older adults and family/friend caregivers by bridging research, policies, and practice.

How are we making a difference?

Employed caregivers in Canada infographic series compilation, in English and French on Les aidants en emploi au Canada, 2023

  • For National Caregivers Day we gathered a fabulous group of people from across Canada as part of a panel conversation on Balancing Work and Care: Strategies for Meaningful Employment.  Learn about the challenges of balancing paid work and unpaid caregiving responsibilities, the marketable skills that caregivers acquire as part of their care journey, and how employers can benefit from and better support caregivers in the workplace through technology, policies, and practices by watching the catalytic conversation on AGE-WELL’s YouTube channel here:

  • By debunking public misconceptions about caregiving – “To most people, caregiving means looking after ailing relatives in their final years. But the reality is much different, with the actual workload lasting more than 30 years for some, according to University of Alberta research. The study, the first of its kind to gauge caregiving across a person’s lifetime, debunks the myth that looking after an ailing loved one is a short, one-off experience. ” Get the full story here. 
  • Did you know that nearly half of young caregivers (age 15-19 years) in Canada care for their grandparents? The infographic Young caregivers (age 15-19 years) in Canada shows that even young people are caregivers. When asked when they first started providing care, more than 40% said they were less than 15 years old, growing up while caring for grandparents, parents, or friends and neighbours. Stories about young caregivers in Canada whose health, social development, education, and job prospects are challenged appeared in several news outlets: CBC News, Folio, Edmonton Journal, Edmonton Sun, Calgary Sun, and Calgary Herald.
  • Curious about what is a caregiver or caregiver burden? Check out these professional videos co-created with Caregivers Alberta:

  • MP Matt Jeneroux with Dr. Janet Fast in Ottawa

    By using evidence to inform public policy  – MP for Edmonton Riverbend, Matt Jeneroux, spoke with Human Ecology 300 undergraduate students about the role of research in the policy-making process. Dr. Janet Fast assisted Mr. Jeneroux while he was an Alberta MLA  in making a case for his private member’s bill (203) to introduce a Compassionate Care Leave for employees working in provincially regulated industries/occupations. It passed with all-party support, a rare thing for a private member’s bill! He has since moved on to federal politics. Dr. Fast also collaborated with Mr. Jeneroux on his federal private members bill C-220 to amend the Canada Labour Code to extend the period of bereavement leave and expand eligibility for the leave for those who are on Compassionate Care Leave or Critical Illness Leave to help thousands of grieving Canadian families. We are delighted that Bill C-220 received Royal Assent and is now law!

  • Dr. Janet Fast collaborated with Caregivers Alberta and the Alberta Caregiver-Focused Coalition to respond to the Government of Alberta’s invitation from stakeholders to provide input to the review of the Continuing Care Act. Our submission uses research evidence to advocate for better policies that sustain caregiver well-being.

  • One of our graduate students, Jonathon Lai,  was selected as a 2020-21 AGE-WELL APPTA Policy  Challenge participant. The Policy Challenge is an educational program that provides a unique opportunity to AGE-WELL Trainees to work closely with policy experts and learn first-hand how research ideas become policy options for implementation at a provincial, territorial, or national level. Released on April 1, 2021, Jon’s report focuses on financial support for older adults during pandemics.


  • By integrating research and teaching – Dr. Megan Strickfaden was selected to be a McCalla Professor for 2020-2022. McCalla Professors are outstanding academics who contribute significantly to integrating teaching, research, and educational leadership. As a McCalla Professor, Dr. Strickfaden undertook a project that integrates research and teaching to advance new knowledge, design practice, and student learning. The project will advance work on a three-part outdoor winter clothing system for seated clients with disabilities. Opportunities to develop a marketing plan, visual identity, and promotional materials were integrated into HECOL 250 and HECOL 469/569. Congratulations Megan!


  • By building capacity among early career scholars around the globe – Dr. Norah Keating led the 2019 GSIA Master Class on older workers at the IAGG Asia Oceania Congress in Taipei.  Early career scholars were from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia. Participants learned from senior international scholars how aging research in general, and their own research in particular, contributes to varying portrayals of older workers.


About Us

Research on Aging, Policies, and Practice (RAPP) is committed to making a meaningful difference in the lives of older adults and their families by bridging research, policies, and practice. Drawing on Human Ecology Theory, we consider the environments in which people live their lives, including family, work, community, and policy contexts. We focus on:

  • care and support of older adults and adults with chronic illness or disAbilities,
  • family caregiving across the life course and its cumulative impact on health, wealth, and well-being,
  • older adults’ contributions to and social inclusion in work and society, and
  • age-friendly environments and creating livable spaces that enhance older persons’ well-being through design.

Located within the Department of Human Ecology at the University of Alberta, the research centre is led by professors Dr. Janet Fast and Dr. Norah Keating. Our team collaborates with researchers at other universities worldwide and partners with government and community organizations in conducting our research, providing an enriching milieu for graduate student education. We are one of a few International Association on Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG) Collaborating Centres.


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