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Revisiting work-life issues in Canada: The 2012 national study on balancing work and caregiving in Canada

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Duxbury, Linda & Higgins, Christopher
Publication Date: 
19 Dec 2012


Two decades ago (1991), we conducted the first national study of work-life conflict in Canada to "explore how the changing relationship between family and work affects organizations, families and employers." Just over 10 years ago (2001) we undertook our second national study of work-life conflict in Canada to determine how the "demographic, social and economic changes that occurred throughout the 1990's increased the percent of the Canadian working population at risk of high work-life conflict."

A lot has happened over the course of the past decade (e.g. demographic changes, economic factors, technological advances, impact of generational cohort on work values) that may change the landscape surrounding work-life issues in Canada. Taken together, these changes suggest it is time for another rigorous empirical look at the issue of work-life conflict. Accordingly, in 2011-12 we undertook a third national study of work-life balance in Canada (referred to in the text as the 2011 study). Just over 25,000 employed Canadians participated in this study. This report, which focuses on work-life conflict, is the first in a series of three reports producing using the 2011-12 data. Reports two and three will focus specifically on the experiences of employed caregivers.

The study looks at the work-life experiences of 25,021 Canadians who were employed full time for 71 public, private and not-for-profit organizations. Just over half (52%) of these respondents were public servants, 34% worked in the NFP sector and 10% worked in the private sector. The data were collected between June 2011 and June 2012.

Sixty percent of the respondents were women. The age distribution of the sample is similar to the Canadian workforce with respect to age (10% Gen Y, 46% Gen X, 44% Baby Boomers). Also worthy of note is the fact that the sample is geographically well distributed with respondents living in all Canadian provinces as well as the Yukon/NWT in various sized communities.