Nearly 100 per cent of Quebec mothers took maternity leave from work after giving birth or adopting children, and fathers in that province were also tops in taking paternity leave, according to a new report from Statistics Canada.
"A number of factors, including socio-economic and child and maternal health characteristics, were associated with whether mothers and fathers took leave and with the length of leave," Leanne Findlay and Dafna Kohen of the agency’s health analysis division wrote.
Both mothers and fathers who were self-employed took shorter leaves, even after considering factors such as whether the child was first-born, the sex of the child, the mother's age, and parental education and income.
"The findings suggest that parental employment characteristics and child and maternal health affect the amount of leave time parents take from work to spend with their child at the time of the birth or adoption."
More dads take leave in Quebec
Fathers who welcomed new twins, triplets or other multiple babies were 2.36 times more likely to take leave.
Nearly all, 99 per cent, of working mothers of children living in Quebec stayed home after the birth, while the figure for mothers in the rest of Canada was 90 per cent.
Their leaves averaged 48 weeks. About 97 per cent of the leaves were paid and 12 per cent said they took unpaid leave.
Meanwhile, the average length of leave was 44 weeks for mothers of children aged one to three living outside Quebec.
More than three-quarters of children in Quebec had a father who took a leave, 76 per cent, compared with one quarter elsewhere in the country.
In the rest of Canada, about one quarter, 26 per cent, of children outside Quebec had fathers who said they took leave for an average of 2.4 weeks.
About 12 per cent of mother reported post-partum depression. They were 2.69 times more likely to take leave than mothers who did not.
The Canada Employment Insurance Program allows up to 15 weeks of maternity benefits for the biological mothers and 35 weeks of parental benefits that can be shared between a mother and father.
Quebec's parental benefits program differs from the one available in other provinces and territories.
The article was based on a sample of 10,810 Canadian children aged one to nine residing in the 10 provinces. The survey was conducted in 2010 and 2011 based on information provided by parents.