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Roundtable on maternity/parental leave and alignment with child care: Report and follow up

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Friendly, Martha
Publication Date: 
31 Jul 2018


A one-day roundtable was held on April 23 2018 in Ottawa as part of a research project by the Childcare Resource and Research Unit and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers on the alignment between maternity /parental leave and child care. Sponsored by Child Care Now (formerly the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada), the Childcare Resource and Research Unit, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, the Canadian Labour Congress and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the event was attended by more than 50 researchers, government officials, advocates, unions, service providers and representatives of civil society organizations.

The roundtable was intended to inform and strengthen policy and public debate on parental leave and, in particular, its alignment with child care. It considered a broad range of key issues affecting parental leave such as eligibility, benefit levels, duration and flexibility, as well as focusing on the alignment between parental leave and child care.

A draft background paper developed as a key part of the project was circulated to inform the discussion. The paper includes a review of relevant literature and an environmental scan of the state of maternity and parental leave in Canada. It will be finalized based on information drawn from the roundtable and feedback provided by roundtable participants. The final paper will be released by the Childcare Resource and Research Unit.

The roundtable's agenda included a number of panel presentations followed by facilitated discussion in smaller groups. The presentations included:

  • What we know about Canadian parental leave and child care (Martha Friendly, Childcare Resource and Research Unit)
  • An overview of Employment Insurance (EI) maternity/parental benefits ( Rutha Astravas, Employment and Social Development Canada, EI Policy)
  • Canada’s two parental leave regimes: Canada/provinces/territories (EI) and Quebec (QPIP) (Andrea Doucet, Lindsey MacKay and Sophie Mathieu, Brock University)
  • An overview of federal early learning and child care initiatives (Christian Paradis, Employment and Social Development Canada, Family and Care Policy)
  • Here's where we stand on parental leave: Labour's view (Angella McEwan, Canadian Labour Congress; Alignment with child care - Morna Ballantyne, Child Care Now; Discussant - Laurell Ritchie, Co-chair, EI Working Group - Good Jobs for All Coalition)
  • Points of view: Women's equality and parental leave (Kathleen Lahey - Queen's University; Poverty/income inequality and parental leave - Anita Khanna, Campaign 2000; Discussant - Jane Stinson, Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women)
  • Government of Canada's view (Adam Vaughan, Member of Parliament, Trinty-Spadina Toronto and Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families and Children, Employment and Social Development Canada)

See attached PDF file for full report