It’s been a month since the federal government’s extra parental leave went into effect. (Dove Men+Care photo)

Despite five extra weeks’ parental leave in Canada, dads still face stigma: survey

One reason people said dads don't need leave is because they can just bond with their kids at weekend

  • Apr. 23, 2019 12:00 a.m.

The additional fives weeks of parental leave recently rolled out in Canada might be helping a family’s pocketbook, but it has yet to change the stigmas faced by stay-at-home dads, according to a new survey.

Findings released Tuesday suggest attitudes about traditional forms of masculinity are still widespread, despite most respondents supporting paternity leave.

The survey questioned 69,000 people over Twitter and at kiosks set up across Toronto in March and April.

Roughly 24 per cent of respondents agreed that men are able to bond with their new children on weekends and don’t need to take extensive leave from work. Another 33 per cent said they disagree with paternity leave because dads are the breadwinners.

READ MORE: Extra weeks of parental leave now available across Canada

It’s been one month since the Parental Sharing Benefit came into effect nationwide, offering non-birth parents – man or woman – to receive payments for an extra five weeks of parental leave, so long as both parents take a certain amount of leave from work. The federal government estimates that 97,000 families will use the new benefit each year.

Survey results suggest that finances and relationships at work remain top barriers to men taking time off.

READ MORE: Minister Hajdu says longer leave not for all, but higher-paid moms need help too

Seventy-five per cent of men said they are concerned about earning less. Half of them said they would be worried about how their relationship with managers would change.

Meanwhile, the idea that paternity leave is for wimps was only supported by eight per cent of respondents. Five per cent said fathers shouldn’t take leave because they don’t breastfeed.

The survey suggests younger men are leading the way in modernizing paternity, with millennial respondents taking more than a week for paternity leave, and only 37 per cent of Generation X fathers doing the same.

“The results demonstrate that, while the image of fatherhood is evolving, there’s still a lot of work to do to make paternity leave stigmas a thing of the past,” said Leslie Golts, marketing lead for Unilever’s Dove Skin Care, which funded the survey.


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