The Use and Sharing of Parental Leave in Canada: Two Policy Changes

Rachel Margolis, University of Western Ontario
Feng Hou, Statistics Canada
Michael Haan, University of Western Ontario
Anders Holm, University of Western Ontario

This paper uses new administrative data to examine how two recent policies affected the use and

sharing of parental benefits in Canada. The first policy change (2001) was federal, and decreased

eligibility criteria and increased the weeks of benefits available to either parent from 10 to 35.

The second (2006) affected only the province of Quebec, and decreased eligibility criteria,

increased the wage replacement rate, and introduced five weeks of designated paternity leave.

Findings show that the 2001 policy extension increased the use of benefits by 4.2 percentage

points and the increase was twice as large for low and middle-income families as high-income

families. The 2006 policy caused an even greater increase in the use of benefits, and increases

were greatest among low-income families and smallest among high-income families. The two

policies also led to different patterns of sharing leave by family income.

Presented in Session 1206: Policy Issues