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Albertans work hard for a living

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CTV Calgary
Publication Date: 
20 Feb 2012



A new study out of the University of Alberta indicates that Albertans
have among the lowest leisure time and longest work hours in the world.

The fact sheet, released by the U of A's Parkland Institute, shows
that Albertans are spending less time with their families than anyone
else in the country.

The study, called "Family Day on the Treadmill", indicates that the
average Albertan has 182 hours less of social leisure time than the
Canadian average.

Albertans average about 5.0 hours of leisure time per day compared to the national average of 5.55 hours.

The Institute says Albertans worked 7.5 weeks more than the average
worker in the top 15 developed Organisation for Economic Co-operation
and Development (OECD) countries in 2010.

Albertans also have fewer vacation and paid holidays per year than most countries in Europe.

Alberta's vacation minimum starts at two weeks compared to European
countries whose citizens enjoy an average of six weeks vacation per

Another factor that is influencing the higher number of work hours is access to affordable, quality childcare.

The institute says that only 17% of children in Alberta, aged 0-5,
have access to a regulated child care space, and that number places us
in the bottom three in Canada.

"Working this hard comes at a cost," says Parkland's Research
Director Diana Gibson. "It means less time for family and community,
higher levels of stress, and poorer health."

According to the Parkland Institute, the province allocates the
lowest number of dollars in Canada for regulated child care spaces for
kids aged 0-12.

The institute says that working this much comes at a cost and that
working harder means less time for family, community, personal health
and recreation.

The fact sheet references studies which show that those longer work
hours are linked to depression, weight gain, increased smoking and
drinking and a higher risk of injury at work.

"A statutory holiday named after families is not enough," says
Gibson. "We're hoping that Albertans, and their government, will take
pause this Family Day and reflect on policies needed to properly support
Alberta's families and communities in the long term."

A 2011 report from the OECD placed Canada fourth for work hours out of 29 developed countries.

To read the report, visit the Parkland Institute's website.