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Canadian Dads Are More Involved Than Ever, Study Says

Canada's doing a pretty good job when it comes to moms and dads sharing child care responsibilities.
Dad making lunch for his children
Gary Burchell via Getty Images
Dad making lunch for his children

It’s 2016 and Canadian dads are getting more involved with family life than ever before.

According to the Fatherhood Institute’s Fairness In Families Index (FIFI), Canada ranks seventh out of 22 countries when it comes to moms and dads sharing child care responsibilities. This is a significant climb from 2010, when Canada ranked at just number 12.

The London School of Economics conducted the research and looked at data from multiple sources, including the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Rankings were then based on a number of factors such as parental leave, gender wage gap, and ratios of men and women caring for children and doing housework.

At the top of the list is Sweden, which also ranked number one in 2010. This isn’t surprising considering Sweden was the first country to offer parental leave so that both parents could take time off to be with their kids.

“It's a very strong tradition here,” gender studies professor Roger Klinth, of Linkoping University, told BBC. “That all political parties voted for it in 1974, was a clear signal from the state that men and women should have the same status as parents and that one gender shouldn't take main responsibility.”

In 2015, the Nordic country also announced that it would introduce a third month of paid paternity leave in order to increase gender equality.

So how does Canada compare? Canada’s parental-leave policy lacks time off specifically for dads, which is likely one reason why it’s taken Canada six years to jump into the top 10 FIFI rankings. Currently, Canada offers a maximum of 17 weeks maternity leave and a maximum of 35 weeks parental leave for dads or moms.

But Canada is doing better than a number of other developed countries when it comes to equality among moms and dads. France, Italy and the U.K., for instance, rank at 10, 11 and 12 respectively.

In fact, the study actually deemed that dads in the U.K. are the “worst in the developed world,” considering that British fathers only put in 24 minutes of care for every hour British moms put in.

In response to the study’s findings, Will McDonald, chair of the Fatherhood Institute, said: “What our analysis shows is that compared to other countries, the U.K. has failed to create the structures to support families to achieve the greater sharing that they want, and that is so important for our children’s futures.”

With Father’s Day around the corner, the Fairness In Families Index really calls attention to the role and involvement of fathers in the home.

“There are significant benefits – for women, men and children – when fathers provide competent care beyond the role of breadwinner, and mothers participate substantially in the paid workforce,” the study reads. “These benefits include but are not limited to, women’s empowerment and the promotion of gender equality more broadly.”

Additional studies have also proven that involved dads also lead to smarter and better behaved kids.


Top 10 Countries For Parental Leave Benefits
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