Families Count 2024: new resource on family structure now available


Families Count 2024 is now available

June 10, 2019

In Focus 2019: Fathers “Making It Work”

June 16, 2019 is Father’s Day, a time to recognize and celebrate dads and the diverse contributions they make to family life, workplaces and communities across Canada.

Most fathers are in the paid labour force, and research shows that an increasing share is involved in their children’s early years. As more dads are managing multiple responsibilities at home and at work than in previous generations, workplaces and parental leave policies have evolved to support this growing role in family life.

  • According to the 2016 Census, 91% of fathers in couples and 82% of lone fathers in Canada were employed.1
  • In 2017, 81% of new and expectant fathers2 inside Quebec received (or were intending to claim) parental benefits, compared with only 12% in the rest of Canada.3, 4
  • In 2018, the majority of surveyed fathers reported that they are afraid that taking leave will negatively impact their finances (75%) and/or their relationship with their managers at work (51%).5
  • As discussed in the Vanier Institute’s May 14, 2019 webinar on Understanding the Parental Sharing Benefit and the Caregiving Benefits, new and expectant fathers6 in eligible two-parent families have had access to a new use-it-or-lose-it 5- to 8-week employment insurance (EI) parental sharing benefit since March 2019, which they can take at any point following the arrival of their child.7
  • A 2015 study found that fathers in Quebec who took leave spent an average half hour more per day at the family home than those outside of Quebec.8
  • In 2015, 72% of surveyed fathers of children aged 0 to 4 reported that they spent time providing help or care to children that day. Of the total number of reported hours parents spent on these tasks, 35% of this work was done by fathers (28% in 1986).9


  1. Statistics Canada, “Father’s Day… By the Numbers,” The Daily (page last updated June 28, 2017). Link: .
  2. This percentage also includes women second partners in same-sex couples, although they account for a small share of the total.
  3. The share of spouses or partners claiming benefits is typically higher in Quebec, as the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan includes benefits that apply exclusively to the second parent.
  4. Statistics Canada, “Employment Insurance Coverage Survey, 2017,” The Daily (November 15, 2018). Link: .
  5. Legerweb, “Dove Men+Care Data Reveals Persistent Paternity Leave Stigmas,” media release (April 23, 2019). Link:.
  6. The benefit is available to all second partners (i.e. women second parents in same-sex couples, in addition to fathers), and includes adoptive parents.
  7. The transcript, PowerPoint presentation and webinar video stream are available on the Vanier Institute website. Link:.
  8. Ankita Patnaik, “‘Daddy’s Home!’ Increasing Men’s Use of Paternity Leave,” briefing paper prepared for the Council on Contemporary Families (April 2, 2015). Link:.
  9. Patricia Houle, Martin Turcotte and Michael Wendt, “Changes in Parents’ Participation in Domestic Tasks and Care for Children from 1986 to 2015,” Spotlight on Canadians: Results from the General Social Survey, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 89-652-X (page last updated June 7, 2017). Link:.