Debates about who should care for the elderly often center on the relative responsibilities of the state and family. In federal societies such as Canada and the United States, however, multiple governments are involved. This article compares and contrasts federalism in these two nations and its effects on the division of fiscal, administrative, and programmatic responsibilities for care of the aged between the national and regional (i.e., state, provincial) governments. Two major policy arenas, health care and social services, are examined, with particular attention focused on the roles played by the nongovernmental sector. Because most care of the aged is provided informally--a situation firmly rooted in the value systems and public policies of both nations--national and regional policies that assist family caregivers directly are examined. Policymakers at the regional level have been more active and often more innovative in constructing policies that are supportive of family caregiving, but in general, few programs of direct assistance exist in either nation and these largely depend on their geographic location. The article concludes with a discussion of the continued effects of federalism for future policies affecting care of the aged and suggests some approaches that can be undertaken to empower families in their caregiving roles.