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Overview

Since 1976, the percentage of dual-earner families has nearly doubled from 36 to 69%. This increase is driven primarily by women’s greater participation in the paid labour market. In 2014, 58% of women between the ages of 25 and 54 were employed full-time.[1] Single mothers accounted for 81% of lone-parent families.[2]

The growing participation rates of women in the workforce have been accompanied by increasing demand for childcare services. Daycare provision helps mothers of young children stay in the paid labour market, and it facilitates peer socialization and school readiness.[3] In 2011, almost half of parents (46%) in Canada reported using some type of childcare for their children aged 14 years and younger. Of those parents paying for childcare, 31% use home daycares, 33% opt for licensed daycare centres, and 28% enlist private care.[4]

46% of Canadian parents reported using some type of childcare for their children aged 14 years and younger.

Sources of work-family conflict

At the same time that their share of paid work is increasing, women spend twice as much time performing unpaid childcare as men (50.1 vs. 24.4 hours per week on average), and they spend more time on domestic work than men (13.8 vs. 8.3 hours per week).[5] Canadian women also spend less time on leisure activities, and they are more likely than men to be simultaneously engaged in unpaid work.[6]  The “second shift” performed by working women is exacerbated by unrealistic cultural norms of intensive mothering.[7] Women also make up