Fatherhood Matters: Looking ahead

by Brian Russell

So we come to the end of yet another year.  It has been a good year with many new connections and opportunities.  And now we look ahead with an eye to what fatherhood in this country can be.  Two things are approaching in 2019 that could affect the course of fatherhood in Canada.

Dads getting more leave.

The federal parental benefit for families after the birth or adoption of a child are changing.  As of Mar 17, 2019, the “other” parent (meaning other than the birth mother) will be entitled to an extra “use-it-or-lose-it” 5 weeks of leave from employment.  These 5 weeks can be taken at any time and is an added benefit to the already shareable parental leave, which can be split between the parents as they see fit.  Quebec has had a similar program for fathers since 2006 and that province sees 75% of fathers taking those 5 weeks, compared to about 15% of fathers in the rest of Canada taking advantage of the federal parental leave.  So the idea is that fathers who are given specific opportunity to take leave will take it.  There is also growing evidence that paternity leave has benefits for the father-child bond  that persists over time.  This connection is invaluable and one that we hope more and more dads take advantage of.

The National Father Involvement Conference

Since 2015, Dad Central Canada has hosted a national conference focused on the research and practice of supporting and engaging fatherhood across the country.  In 2019 the 3rd conference will be in Ottawa, ON.  People from across the country will gather to connect, inform, and mobilize around fatherhood.  We hope to create a vision for the future of fatherhood by hearing from relevant research and practice professionals.  This will include a national father involvement survey, networking opportunities, an evening social hosted by The Movember Foundation, a panel of dads speaking, relevant keynote and workshop presentations, and a pre-conference event focused on newcomer fathers.

Stay Connected

So we encourage connection.  Dad Central Canada is connected across the country with reps in 8 provinces.  We encourage dads to stay connected, too.

  • Stay connected with us.  We hope the information we create can encourage you in your role in as a key man in the lives of your children.
  • Stay connected with your kids.  Find ways to spend time in any way you can.  Know that your time and attention does wonders for the future of your children.
  • Stay connected with other dads.  Fatherhood in the past has usually been a lonely venture.  It doesn’t need to be that way.  Find other guys raising kids and share your stories, spend time with them, and let your kids see you having good, healthy friendships with other guys.
  • Stay connected with mom.  The team you create is key for your child’s development.  Work hard to make it work.
  • Finally, stay connected with yourself.  Being a dad is hard work.  Be aware of how it is affecting you.  Use this as a chance to learn things about yourself like how you handle stress, how you relate with others, and what your priorities are.

Being a dad matters.  May 2019 be a year of connection for you and your family.

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