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 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.
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Duration: 34 weeks (37 for single moms and 43 for multiples) Wages paid: 65 per cent Parents (overwhelmingly moms) on parental leave are entitled to work without sacrificing their benefits. Still, the country has the lowest rate of working mothers of kids children under the age of six in the European Union: 37.6 per cent, compared to the EU average of 58.9 per cent.
Duration: 36 to 46 weeks Wages paid: 100 per cent for the shorter leave, 80 per cent for the longer Norway’s so-called daddy quota was introduced in 1993 — four weeks of use-it-or-lose-it parental leave that has since been bumped up to 12 weeks. Interestingly, moms are only required to take six weeks off after having a baby.
Duration: 365 days Wages paid: 80 per cent for 150 days after the birth, and 50 per cent for the rest. Albania is a largely agrarian economy, with small-scale farming accounting for half of employment. Still, it is surprisingly progressive when it comes to mat leave; meanwhile, just across the Adriatic, Italian moms get five months of leave at 80% of pay.
Duration: 52 Weeks Wages paid: Moms get 55 per cent (up to a maximum of $485 per week) for 17 weeks; the remaining 35 weeks can be split between parents, at the same rate. To qualify, you must work 600 hours and pay in to the Employment Insurance system in the year before you initiate a claim. You can also generate a small amount of extra income while on parental leave (though be warned: It’s based on a new and intensely complicated formula that almost negates the value of doing so
Duration: One year Wages paid: 82 per cent for first 30 days, 75 per cent for the rest. Yet another former Yugoslav republic, with an economy still highly reliant on foreign aid, makes the Top 10. Bosnia has a birth rate of just 1.25 babies per woman, putting it at No. 218 out of 224 nations (Singapore’s is the lowest, at 0.79).
Duration: 52 weeks Wages paid: 90 per cent The U.K. is second on that MIT/Harvard list of socially progressive countries. But we have to wonder: Does the Duchess of Cornwall qualify for maternity leave benefits now that she’s at home with wee George?
Duration: 52 weeks Wages paid: 100 per cent The maternity leave benefits might be great, but just 38.3 per cent of women in this former Yugoslav republic participate in the workforce, well below the European Union average of 58.5 per cent.
Duration: 52 weeks Wages paid: 100 per cent For the second year running, Denmark was ranked number one in the World Happiness Report. The country has the second-highest level of female employment in Europe and generous family benefits that amount to 4.2 per cent of the country’s GDP. Plus, babies six months and up are guaranteed a daycare spot.
Duration: 1 year Wages paid: 100 per cent Over and above the one year of paid leave, either parent is entitled to stay out of the workforce until their child turns three. That stretch of leave is unpaid, but the parent continues to collect medical insurance and accrue pension benefits.
Duration: 420 days Wages paid: 80 per cent Ikea, H&M, Alexander Skarsgård — this tiny Nordic nation has a lot going for it. And in April, Sverige was ranked the world’s most progressive country by a joint MIT/Harvard study. Its generous parental leave — which can be spread over eight years, and two months of which must be taken by dad — is a major factor.