The reporter, Matthew Ramsey, contacted me last week about the story. One of the things that he told me that was new information to me was the new Stats Can figures that show the number of Canadian fathers taking leaves from work to spend time with their kids has increased from 38 per cent in 2001 to 55 per cent in 2006. As Vancouver Dad points out in his post about it:
But the dads don’t stay home for nearly as long. Two-thirds of fathers returned to work within a month of the arrival of the child. It’s no wonder. While mothers usually took formal maternity leave, the dads tended to use vacation time or unpaid leave rather than paid parental leave.
One thing I am noticing with my circle of friends is the number of parents who are splitting their parental leave benefits. The federal government allows for up to 35 weeks of parental leave for either parent, and I know a few parents who are splitting this time between both parents. Dads may take the final 8-12 weeks and Mom may re-enter the workforce a few months sooner.
It’s still far from the ideal (as outlined in the Ministerial Advisory Committee on the Government of Canada’s Child Care Spaces Initiative released in the spring) where both parents could have equal lengths of time off in the first years of their children’s life, but it is a start. And is certainly is a lot better than prior to 2001 when the parental leave benefits were introduced.