Based on data collected from parents of 10,810 children in 2010 and 2011, Statistics Canada’s study reveals that 90% of Canadian children outside Quebec had working mothers who took some type of leave following the birth of their child.  On average, the leave lasted 44 weeks.  Only 26% of these children had working fathers who took leaves, with the average leave being 2.4 weeks.

The situation differed quite dramatically in Quebec, with almost 99% of working mothers taking some form of leave; on average, the leave lasted 48 weeks.  Fathers took leave in 76% of cases in Quebec.

83% of mothers outside Quebec took paid leave, and 21% reported some unpaid leave.  The average paid leave in such cases was 40 weeks, while the average unpaid leave was 4.5 weeks.  In Quebec, 97% of mothers took paid leave, with 21% reporting some unpaid leave.

Not surprisingly, a number of factors, including socio-economic, child and maternal health characteristics, and self-employment, were associated with whether mothers and fathers took leave and the length of the leaves.

To read the study in its entirety, please consult the July 2012 online issue of Canadian Social Trends, no. 94 (