Paid maternity leave was first introduced in Canada in 1971. Since that time, improving it has been discussed on a regular basis. The duration of family leave benefits increased considerably when parental leave was added in 1990 and increased in 2000 but outside Quebec, improvements in other areas have not been made.
Responsibility for maternity and parental leave in Canada is split between federal and provincial/territorial governments, with the federal government responsible for benefits (payment) under Employment Insurance and provincial/territorial governments determining characteristics (such as duration)of job protected leave. Since 2006, Quebec has had its own program, the Quebec Parental Insurance Program, specifying both benefits and leave provisions.