Waiting for the revolution: The changing expectations of fatherhood and men's (non)participation in parental leave/benefits in Canada

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Payne, Lindsay Katherine
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University of Guelph

This thesis analyzes the changing expectations of fatherhood and the factors influencing men's (non) participation in Canada's parental leave program. Originally intended for women, Canada's parental leave program has evolved to include and promote more active father involvement. Despite this reflection of the larger cultural changes to the definition of fatherhood, this program remains relatively ineffective in engaging men's involvement in the private domain. As a result, twenty-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with Canadian fathers to explore the factors influencing their participation. The findings suggest that the largest determinants of men's leave-taking behaviour are: family economics, men's adherence to traditional gender role assignments, and their experiences with work. More specifically, this research suggests that these three factors work together to systemically impede male involvement in the program. Concluding with a discussion of the implications of structural barriers on men's utilization of parental leave/benefits, this thesis also makes recommendations for change.

fatherhood, changing expectations, men, participation, parental leave, benefits, Canada