Fatherhood report explores evolution of fatherhood in Canada


Fatherhood-In-Canada-lrgThe “Give Love, Get Lovereport published by The Involved Father and Gender Equity Project details the experiences of fifty-three fathers in communities across Ontario, interviews with stakeholders and professionals working to engage fathers, and a preliminary environmental scan of  services available to fathers in Ontario.  





The eight major findings of the study:

  1. “Involved fatherhood occurs along a continuum that allows fathers to find ways to actively participate in the lives of their children. Entry into fatherhood is described as a transformational journey that positively changes men and their relationship with their children and partners.”
  2. Fathers participating in the study valued access to parental leave benefits where available. Benefits mentioned included increased attachment between fathers and children and increased empathy towards the child rearing process. The study posits “in the long-term, increased use of parental leave by fathers may also affect current social norms that limit men from caring and nurturing roles.”
  3. Fathers in the study identified that “despite the gains that have been made in parental leave policies, engaging in parental leave is an isolating and often frowned upon aspect of their experience.” Father-specific programs were identified as “a way to connect with other fathers, share experiences and build informal support networks regarding their parenting”.
  4. “Involved fatherhood has benefits for children, mothers and fathers. Fathers indicated that they feel more emotionally connected to their children and prioritize their children and family over other aspects of their lives. Fathers indicate that their involvement results in greater co-parenting and greater emotional attachment between partners.”
  5. “Many fathers are actively finding ways to counter the traditional gender stereotypes. In their roles as fathers they are providing opportunities to their children and making choices for their children that allow the children to exist outside of the stereotypes that are often associated with boys and girls.”
  6. “Aboriginal fathers who participated in this study indicated that in addition to the daily lives of their children, their involvement included teaching them about aboriginal culture, history and taking their children to activities designed to educate about aboriginal heritage. Aboriginal fathers indicated that their involvement in the lives of their families includes close connections to their community.”
  7. The use of language in the parenting process was an important area, particularly among Gay/Bi/Transgender fathers. “Language is utilized in creative ways to describe the parenting experience beyond the traditional gender binary.”
  8. “Fathers in this study indicate that their involvement with their children promotes gender equality. Fathers are role modeling gender equality with their children and understand the importance of having conversations about equality with their children. Fathers in this study also suggest that a change is occurring in relationships, where equality is more present within their relationships than ever before.”

Fatherhood by the Numbers:

  • 3.8 million — Fathers with children under 18 living with them, as of 2011
  • 29 — Percentage of fathers who took parental leave in 2011 (share is 76 per cent in Quebec, which has its own parental benefits program)
  • 21 — Percentage of male lone-parent families in Canada in 2011 (growth of single-parent families was more than twice as strong between 2006 and 2011 for men than for women: 16.2 per cent versus six per cent)
  • 379 – Time spent, in minutes, by men with their families on an average day in 2010, up from 345 in 2005
  • 81 — Participation rate of men in housework and related activities in 2010, up from 77 per cent in 2005
  • 11 – Percentage of two-parent families with a stay-at-home dad, as of 2010

Source: Statistics Canada